Ok, so, who am I?
I like to think about myself as a Renaissance Man, but that just makes me sound pretentious. The truth is I have struggled all my life with finding my one true field of interest, and it was never narrow enough. I love so many things in life! I love art, music, movies, TV, computers, games, fitness, cooking. But the older I get, the more I realize stretching myself so thin in all directions will never give me the satisfaction I'd get from being focused.
So let's take a step back in this mini-memoir. As a young boy, born in the mid-70s in Romania, there were not a lot of things to do. I think my favorite toy was a stick and my favorite activity throwing that stick at things. And that was fun. But mental fun took precedence over physical fun, at least in those days and places.
I became fascinated by the art of writing since early age. Story telling was the perfect medium to describe things you wish were real. You could live the emotions and you could identify yourself with the characters. It was perfect.
My very first "book" was a graphic novel I crafted myself at the age of 4. I took paper and folded it in half, I used a piece of carton for the covers, and I stapled them together to make some sort of notebook. I know what you are thinking: why not use a regular notebook? To which I answer: Pfff... why make it so easy?
Either way, my first story was about a monster that climbed a tall mountain and when he got up there he was afraid to come down. I never finished it, I have no idea where I was going with it, but to this day I still have that little gem of my imagination. When I feel lost, I open it up and look at it.
Fast forward many years. Pass through a school system that doesn't foster imagination, but fetters your mind inside a tunnel built from a curriculum designed by broken people; jump over years of taking exam after exam, trying to prove that I am too worthy to be a part of that average range that can proceed to the next logical step in life.
But before I trash the system completely, let me take a break and tell you a story that made it all worth it in the end:
It was 1990, if I remember well, and we were taking a French class. The teacher was about to ask for our homework, which, of course, I haven't done. All of a sudden, the school starts to shake. It's an earthquake. Everything is shaking, everyone is scared. Later we learn that this was a 6.1 magnitude quake. Everyone was okay in the end, but people left a bit shaken. To add insult to injury, that night we had a second wave that kept us on the street through the night. The following week we had a literature class. Our teacher was very different from most teachers. She was actually trying to teach us something and enrich our imagination through her lessons. Needless to say, she didn’t last long in our school. But on that day, she asked us to write something interesting. No other prompts, just interesting. I wrote a story about how, being afraid of being caught without my homework, I squeezed my mind so powerfully that I produced an earthquake and therefore I was saved from a bad grade.
To my absolute surprise, not only did the teacher enjoy my piece, she actually read it out loud in the teacher's lounge, and other teachers mentioned it to me. That moment marked the first time in my life when I had an epiphany: maybe there are people out there who would enjoy my writing. Huh... I was 15.
My life moved fast after that. I went through a mind-numbing accounting school because that’s what was popular at the time. I went with the safe route; I went with the logical way, not the way of my heart. I don’t regret it; without it probably I wouldn’t be where I am today…
Following my family, I relocated to the United States, on September 1st, 2001, of all days! Not the best time to arrive, but I survived. Manyyears later, here I am, living happily with my wife and two children somewhere in the middle of New Jersey.
But that little boy playing with sticks never truly vanished. He grew and matured, but his desires did not wither. That boy who crafted his own book and drew his story with a black-ink pen—he’s still there, alive and well inside of me. Since then his dreams got bigger, twined into magnificent shapes and amazing colors. His imagination expanded and his desire to share grew tenfold.
That boy is finally ready to share his stories, and he can proudly say with confidence: I am a writer.
Enjoy my world!