Words are my art. I wish I had known this long ago, but years of mediocrity and failure at other ventures has slowly pounded this lesson into my head. Starting in 10th grade, I requested to enter into AP English because the normal English class was full of punks who were only out to distract the teacher. With only a B+ from the previous year it did not seem likely. But somehow they let me slide in.

Mr. Ashlock was our teacher. He was young and enthusiastic. Idealistic and not very religious, unique as a teacher at our school. Every morning we were assigned a 10 minute writing assignment when we walked in class. A prompt from current events or literature we had covered would be written on the board.

At first, I feared those quick essays. Through class discussion and repetition, I began to fall in love with writing. New avenues of thought no one else had ever thought of lay waiting beyond the page. This love grew in over the years as I dabbled in every art form available to me. From acting as Stanley in “A Streetcar Named Desire” to creating an enormous cathedral sculpture, from recording and producing my own techno album called “The Prophet” to painting apocalyptic murals on my friends bedroom wall, I tried so many forms of creation… and though I might have excelled at some, they were not my art.

Acting became a passion for me for years. Auditioning for small roles in huge productions as soon as I entered college, I jumped right in. Over the coarse of the next year, however, I developed certain bad habits and acting began to drive me mad. Role after role soaked up in its entirety into me, the sponge. The personalities began to blur, and my own self waned. I left acting, abruptly and absurdly, I had just landed another great role. But it was a necessity for my psyche, for my health.

Could this drive to become my characters drive me insane? that is what I feared… The need to pour out emotion and meaning into the world surrounding is what drove me. I needed a safe outlet to release to pressure of madness.

Years after my acting career is dead and gone, I can reflect upon my state at that time with clarity. In the moment, I was a hot mess of trouble. That insidiousness influenced my actions for quite some time, delving deeper into the underworld where I could lose my logic, lose my sense of self, lifting it up to the community I so desperately sought. That community was short lived and an illusion from the start, however, the trials I faced in my darkest hours drew the art out of me. I did not create in this time, but this time forged the ink for my pen.

Now, my inspiration comes from my loss of self, my loss of purpose, and its re-finding. Inspired by my own failure, I seek, now, to create. I must not forget my past, and the road that brought me here, while focusing on the future.