About Me Stories
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About Me Stories

Partial Autobiographies

About Me — D. Grimaldo

And how I came to write what I write.

Incisive, multifaceted, somewhat eccentric, multi-cultural, broad-minded, misunderstood & multilingual.

My Digital Ink is depleted until March 15th, 2022.

This is my faltered ego writing on Medium, as opposed to the myriad of articles my alter ego has written on several blogging platforms for many years. Now that I am writing at Medium, why not write a more extensive About Me?.

I am a Facebook and WhatsApp dissident, and a privacy advocate. I love reading and traveling, and I have been writing since I was a teenager! Furthermore, I have a few longer works (novels) at various stages of the pipeline. But so far, not a complete novel.

For the fanatics of MBTI, I am an INFJ/INFP. I am not a consumerist, I do not live to spend hard-earned money like there is no tomorrow only to enrich those that don’t care about our welfare at all. Likewise, I feel no inclination to impress anybody or appear as someone I am not. I am not blinded by money; therefore, I don’t want to amass a fortune that I cannot take to the other world. All I ask of life is health, happiness, a decent living and a small circle of true friends. Friends? Yes, that kind of people that stick with you in good and bad times. People often confuse friends with acquaintances, and they are not the same thing.

Years ago, when Yahoo had a huge data breach, a presumably Arab person opened a Twitter account using my name, thus impersonating me. Twitter had the account -that I never opened- suspended, and it remains so. I have no idea what sort of tweets he wrote. Furthermore, Twitter -like all those big corporations- is not interested about how they may be damaging our reputation. Therefore, what the Internet claims to know about me, may or not be true.

As much as I like Medium, these 7 months here made me realize the feeling is not mutual. I love writing and I deserve all benefits as much as the rest of the writers here. Unfortunately, between the Stripe (standard account) and M.P.P. requirements, I realized it would be impossible to cash a single cent here. For that reason I started publishing on Vocal Media where I can get paid.

The Beginnings

I am a Generation X person raised in a quiet middle-class neighborhood in a Third World country run by a dictator. At nights, I dodged bullets from the machine guns of the Vietnam War, over the TV of course! My parents were both first generation university graduates in their families. It was only logical that the mix of their genes would produce an engineer. It had to hold to logic, of course, and the possible consequences of every act had to be considered.

“Being very near-sighted as a teen avoiding glasses like a pest, is like being one-legged without crutches!”

In my teens as well as early university years, people (may have) thought of me as slightly arrogant. But I was not! The truth was that since my teens I was very near-sighted, and I could not distinguish faces due to my unfortunate ophthalmic condition. In class, I couldn’t even read the blackboard, to me it was a green object with a white blur all over it. In retrospective, I think that’s the reason I developed a short attention span. I didn’t want to wear glasses, so I never told my parents and managed to navigate high school and early university like that. I have many tales related to that vision problem, but that would be the subject of a whole article onto itself.

First Creative Steps

At school, I was good at anything Mathematics and by the time I was graduating from high school, I was already used to solve differential and integral calculus problems piece-wise without writing anything. It was fun, but creative stuff always made me happy. I forgot almost everything about integral and differential calculus though.

I loved drawing since I was in primary school. In high school, I produced several “movies” in the form of mini comics. The stories were several pages long and were made of mini-scenes of 1.5×1 centimeter in which I drew the scene and the dialog using a carefully sharpened pencil to make tiny letters. Unfortunately none of this early treasure remains because I burnt it, my academic performance was suffering as a result of that.

Shortly thereafter, my friends of the neighborhood and I got into the idea of filming a movie using a Super 8 camera. For that purpose, I took it upon myself to write the movie script. But our “movie” was never filmed, and I threw away my script.

On 10th grade, I took my first shot at writing a novel, in particular an action novel inspired by James Bond movies. I was an avid reader of fiction, but had absolutely no training on writing other than my own observations of the works I had read. Nevertheless, I narrated my draft in third person omniscient point of view. That was quite something when you compare most of the works of aspiring writers in Wattpad. Many of them can only write in first person point of view and usually have tons of grammar and spelling errors, not to mention failing to make their story believable.

I realized I had not seen the world nor experienced many things in life to write a novel.

But I digress. Back to me and my initiation in writing fiction. Back then, there was no Internet, and there wouldn’t for at least 15 years. But I think I used those years somewhat wisely, now I have been to 34 countries and lived in 3 of them in 2 continents.

Campus Newspaper Columnist!

When I was an Electrical Engineering student at the university, I started writing for the campus newspaper, The Vanguard. It was so interesting that I spent part of my weekends working as a production volunteer there, stripping, cutting, and pasting whatever came out of the typesetting machine into the laid out pages of our newspaper. That’s right! There wasn’t Microsoft Word or Adobe Publisher. Most of the things we can now do on our computers with a couple of software applications had to be done manually with a typesetting machine, an X-Acto knife, glue, and the physical page template.

The Void

I got my engineering degree abroad, more than 2,500 kilometers away from my birthplace. I say my birthplace, because if I have enough privacy and my own space, I can feel at home any place.

As a recent graduate, I was faced with the conundrum of wanting to work and not having any professional experience, yet all companies wanted a young person with lots of experience. You know the drill. To that, add the complication of being a foreigner looking for work. I always puzzled me that in the USA it would be relatively easier to get a Green Card (become a permanent resident) being an unqualified immigrant, than as a recent university graduate. US policies have always been odd.

Those were turbulent times for me, trying to survive abroad on my own, barely making ends meet with a university degree. As such, I forgot about many of my interests, including writing or creating anything.

The Muse Flourishes

“And suddenly I saw the heavens unfasten, shadow perforated, palpitating plantations” — Pablo Neruda

Once I finally settled in professional employment, albeit low-paid, I started writing all sorts of things again. Short stories, a few poems, prose, etc. I even had a humorous side! I must have lost it somewhere along the way. I wrote a short tale that had its funny sides, it was titled something like “Danger in the Fish Tank”. I have searched for it in vain among the more than 3 million files Kaspersky says I have in my hard disk. Now, I am sure it wouldn’t live up to my writing standards nowadays, but it was a beginning. I even submitted it to an online magazine. Yes, Internet was finally available to a fraction of the Earth’s population, and I was one of the privileged ones! Unfortunately, it got rejected for publication.

You can never please everybody, and that holds for writing.

What I learned is that you should not take it personally. I felt bad, my first attempt at submitting something ended in rejection. I never saved my first rejection letter that came by email. Furthermore, I stopped writing stories for a long time. That I truly regret because I let the rejection of a nobody cripple my early development as a writer. That publication never became world-famous, and the editor that rejected my story never became even mildly known! I shouldn’t have left it to discourage me.

Over the years I wrote a few poems and fragments of poems born out of heartbreak. I regret not having written short stories in that state of mind. You should not let great inspiration go to waste, put the talents that God has given you to good use.

In this period I commuted a lot by train. A train has the advantage of making a wide gamut of lives available to you. Often I envisioned short stories while I commuted. I had no laptop and there were no smartphones, and it didn’t occur to me to use a small notebook. So many raw stories gone to oblivion.

Writing in Present Days

I think I have come a long way since then, but I am not there yet. I participated in NaNoWrimo for the first time and managed to write over 50,000 words in one month, the worst possible month in Panama. That novel is unfinished, but not forgotten. At that time I realized I still had much to learn. The NaNoWriMo affair can be a whole article by itself as well. I dedicated a few years since then to actually study writing. I read many books about the craft as well as several courses including Wesleyan University’s Creative Writing Specialization on Coursera.

At this time I have several concepts of novel or stories at various stages of (in)completion. In the meantime, I have used several tools available for writers nowadays. Yes, I am blocked at the moment, stuck at Chapter 6 of a novel. It will get there in due time.

In the meantime, here I am, writing on the Medium platform to get into the habit of actually writing instead of procrastinating. Medium is also being sort of a therapy to get into short stories as preparation for the big thing: my novels. I hope to get there before God decides to revoke my contract on Earth.

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Didimo Grimaldo

Engineer by birth with an inquisitive mind, driven by logic & feeling. Worked for high tech companies in USA/Europe. Privacy advocate, & Whatsapp dissident.