After a year and a half in community college studying electronics technology, he decided he wanted to be a writer. The fact was, he was terrified of the math, calculus he'd have to study. Electronics was a hobby he enjoyed, not something he felt he wanted to do for work. The first Apple computers were just coming out, and besides, in 9th grade he'd taken interest in a basic computer his HS was loaned, and he loved it... in his free-time that is where he would go. That was until the school decided to cut his computer privileges because algebra was more important and he wasn't doing well.
It must have been around 1974 John made the decision. He still remembers his first writing class at the college... he was scared to death, nervous, sweating, from fear of failure. Sure he had written as a kid, but this was far different. He was actually studying writing!
He actually did pretty good in the class. He struggled with the answers... in many cases because there weren't any, in the traditional sense. It was a creative writing class. They also learned the rules of poetry, the different types of writing and he really enjoyed writing Haiku. His humble beginning was poetry.
The children are born, the children of change.
The children are free, the children can see.
You ask - "what can they see?"
The answer is simple, for all to see.
A web is before them, a web called "life".
A spider is watching, for those who are not.
The spider is deadly, it'll get you, it must.
The children can see it, the people not.
It was a couple more years before John was able to learn the truth about writing. The fact that in many ways questions were far more important than answers. A good answer required an excellent question. It was also a couple of years later that John was introduced to the writer Henry Miller, and the phrase that would become his mantra, and his unexpected burden.
It was a slippery slope for John, making the change near to the end of getting his AS degree... he was shy 15 or so credits, and changed his major to liberal arts. His parents didn't know yet, since he had moved out a couple of months earlier. He'd have to tell them eventually, wasn't sure what they'd say. He also realized he wanted to work at the college. What could he do?
He realized he could get a job as a custodian... maybe. He had his doubts, but he'd sit on the step to the Maintenance Department everyday if he had to to get the job. It was his way inside the realm of the scientists, a concept he'd picked up in a science-fiction story by Ray Bradbury. Three years he figured... if he could work in the college for 3 years as a custodian he'd be set... he would be ready to reach out farther and have time to find himself, an ideal that drove many a person those days. Just 3 years, that's all he asked for...
Next time... A View from Behind the Mop