As far back as I can remember I've had a love affair with the English language. I don't know, maybe it's genetic from having two English majors for parents and a journalist/poet grandmother, or perhaps just ingrained in me from a very early age, but it seems like from start I could never get enough. Yes, I was that freakish, nerdy kid who was the only student not groaning when it was time for a vocabulary quiz, who aced almost every spelling test, who preferred to play Scrabble over Monopoly or Candyland or Operation.
I find myself in complete and slightly envious awe of poets and authors so adept at wielding words, at manipulating the English language. I suppose writing is somewhat like sculpting with language; in the same way an artist takes a simple block of wood or clay or marble and turns it into something beautiful, the writer can can take a set of what you would think of as perfectly ordinary words and somehow transform them into something profoundly magical, something completely unexpected and extraordinary.
So when a friend announced that his apartment was throwing a "What Did You Want To Be When You Grew Up?" party last weekend, I decided to go as "The Great American Novelist". Ok, technically as a child I never stood up and announced that I wanted to be such a thing (if I had even known what it was), or even a writer, at that. Technically as a child I suppose I wanted to be either a veterinarian, or for a while the person at Marine World who chilled with the tigers on "Tiger Island" (sweet gig, right??) I think I may have even gone through a brief wanna-be ballerina phase before I got tired of being the chubby kid in the leotard.
But even in elementary school I always enjoyed reading and relished the creative writing assignments I was given, always going pages and pages over the minimum requirement (yes, extreme verbosity has been a chronic problem for me). And I'm pretty sure I went through a period in high school where I dreamed of someday writing the Next Great American Novel (I blame my Junior year English class). So that seemed close enough.
But I digress. The truth is, I'm pretty sure that this blog is about as close as I'll ever get to being a novelist, Great American or otherwise. Ok, I may love words, and I may be able to turn a nice phrase now and then, but I never had much of a knack for plot. Or persistence. Not to mention that I seem to lack the apparently necessary proclivity for suicide and capacity for extreme alcoholism.
Indeed, I sometimes think that I would like to be a genius, and a genius writer at that, but I'm afraid that I may just be too balanced (wow, never thought I'd be saying that!), and perhaps I value my sanity and my health just a bit too much. So I suppose I'll just have to settle for playing the part for a night, and continuing to enjoy the written genius of others. Mustachioed or not.