I’ve been single for at least three years. It’s possible to argue it’s closer to five. By single I mean that I have not had a committed, monogamous relationship in almost half a decade. That, obviously, is a problem for me. I’ve had dozens of casual relationships, many dozens more brief encounters, but with the exception of a brief period of co-habitation with an ex-girlfriend that necessitated monogamy, I haven’t been with a single person who I wanted to date seriously, and with whom the feeling was mutual.
I used to be a writer. From the time I was around eleven until I dropped out of college to move to California and try my hand at ‘business’ I wrote prolifically. I filled notebooks and hard drives full of writing. Poetry and short prose, mostly, but I penned three novellas and 80,000 words of a novella before I turned eighteen. I had a lot going on in my brain, and my outlet was writing. I trained myself how to write with different styles, different voices. During my first year of college I took a creative writing class and had my professor tell me that she found nothing technically wrong with my writing, though she took issue with my storytelling and topic choice, which was a very fair critique. What I’m getting at with all of this is that I was, for my age, a fairly good writer. I knew the basics, I had a good vocabulary and command of language.
I never published anything other than one poem – I fell for one of the early ‘writing contest’ scams requiring me to pay an entry fee to essentially self-publish my work on a website. It only cost me a few bucks, and that poem still persists in the bowels of the Internet. I sadly had to cut it down to fit the requirements of the contest, but I think it’s one of my better works. When I got to college the creative writing workshop was the only other time I’d had peer feedback and it was resoundingly positive – my classmates said they loved reading my stories and poems. Work was presented for discussion anonymously, so I generally regard their feedback as genuine – they had no idea it was me, for better or worse.
My background in writing actually got me into business – I had to rewrite a friend’s site for him that he had plagiarized from someone else, and he paid me for it. He thought I did such a good job he hired me part time to help him run his one-man e-commerce business, and we grew it into a nice little enterprise (though he kept 95% of the money, of course).
Over time, I wrote less and less fiction. I wrote all day via instant messenger and email, and the drive wasn’t there anymore to write for ‘fun’. Working online with remote employees most of my communication was via chat. Still is, to this day.
Yesterday I read an article about dating culture. I will unpack my feelings on this in a different post, but it essentially made me so disgusted with dating culture and my own dating life that I deleted all of my mobile dating apps (OKCupid, Tinder, Hinge, et cetera) and resolved to not go back on them. Today was my first dating-app-free day in years, and the first one during a workday. All that time I’d spend checking Tinder or OKC or Match, I suddenly had to myself. I spent some of it bike shopping – again, a post for another day – but once I decided that was too deep of a rabbit hole, I started thinking to myself that I needed to find some way to fill the 30-60 minutes per day/workday (or more) that I likely spent screwing around with online dating. What did I decide? Writing.
I’ve spent the last 7 or so years of my life on a rollercoaster ride of business, money, travel, success, failure, food, drugs, alcohol, and of course, dating. When you’re writing about yourself, in my opinion, it’s hard to find a voice that sounds authentic, and it’s even harder to take stories that seem fun and exciting to you and turn them into stories and thoughts that are fun to read for anyone else. But I’m going to try. I’m finding my voice. More to come!