By: Andy Domonkos

  “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”
Nathanial Hawthorne-

When I was a kid, during those years in middle school when girls  suddenly came into view as something other than cootie-bearing vessels, and the threat of responsibility loomed overhead like a dark cloud, I wrote the first story I can remember writing.

Our English teacher at the time had decided we should all write a short story, a task that was made all the more daunting when she told us it could be about anything.  Anything was a broad genre at the time, but I set my mind on writing the best story I could, regardless of how little I knew about anything.

The story I wrote was a dark one: A man goes out hiking and enters a clearing where several dead bodies are hanging from the trees.  After finding this atrocity, he hikes home in a panic, where he finds the door to his woodland home unlocked.  Try as I might, I can't remember what happened next in the story.  

It was a plot that might have been inspired by one too many viewings of Hellraiser and Tales from the Crypt, or maybe it was because in the minds of most adolescent boys are horror stories.

Whatever the stories dark origins may have been, one thing was for sure: the story was fairly pointless.  It wasn't until after I turned it in, and headed down the hall to my next class when it suddenly dawned on me that I had written something terrible and irreversible, and that serious repercussions might lie ahead.  

It was my first experience with having a piece of my mind or soul floating  outside the guarded confines of my little twelve-year-old head.  It wasn't like saying something aloud--something that could only linger in memory and be easily forgotten by those that heard it.  There is a permanence to writing, even if it's bad or trivial, it's always out there...somewhere.   I had taken my emotions and personality and put them on paper for the entire world to see, (the entire world being my school at the time) and the whole experience had put a big knot in my stomach.  

When my teacher said I “showed promise,” and no men in white coats showed up to haul me away, it was more than just a relief, it was somehow redeeming.  She enjoyed the story and went so far as to say it even entertained her.  I couldn't believe it.  It was a feeling I couldn't shake.  

I’m still writing today, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for anyone who does it well and frequently.   Some people are naturals, and others—like myself—must beat our heads against the wall and undergo what seems to be an endless, frustrating, dousing of criticism.  

Usually the harshest critic, though, is yourself.  Most writers seem to have a ample supply of criticisms for their own work. Writing can be tedious and frustrating, but what rewarding activity isn't?  For every story about someone writing a bestseller from a studio apartment, there are about 5000 stories about someone who didn't write a bestseller from a studio apartment.  All you can do is keep learning, trying, and above all else: enjoy the act of writing, no matter how terrifying it can be at times.

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