How does anyone get into writing, really? By picking up a pen or keyboard and working some kind of magic with it. But for me, it wasn’t just that.
The funny thing about social media is that it has allowed us to all be online creators regardless of our intentions. Allowing us to share our thoughts and feelings, to be “published” for all to see, with little to no effort (and all too often, little to no brainpower) has given us the opportunity to be seen, heard, and read. This is what happened to me, by accident via the existence of Facebook as a creation platform.
One day back in 2014, one of my good friends, who happens to hail from Australia, shared a status to the effect that she’d been asked by yet another clearly ignorant person whether there were still dodos living in Australia. For those who haven’t opened a history or biology book in years, a quick reminder: the dodo was a species of large, flightless birds endemic to the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. And for those who haven’t opened an atlas in years, this island happens to be located a full 5,646 km (3,508 mi in US English) of empty ocean away from Australia. Needless to say a flightless bird being present in both places would have had to swim a damn long way between the two.
Faced with the wild absurdity of this statement, I decided to respond. But instead of expressing mere commiseration with her at the decadent ignorance of the masses, I instead chose to write a joke in response (see spoiler in the accordion at the end of the page). I initially intended this comment to take up merely a paragraph, but I got carried away and next thing I knew, I’d written a full page or two’s worth of text, going into a lot more detail than I’d intended. The reactions to my comment were quick to come. Several people liked it and some commented on it. But mostly, some started commenting that I should get into writing on a more serious basis!
At first I just kind of attributed this feedback to beginner’s luck or just a fluke. And the story could have stopped there… if my brain hadn’t thrown me a curve ball. Indeed, mere months later, another friend of mine posted a picture to Facebook of the sarsaparilla plant, which features in the Smurfs comic as the plant that constitutes the little blue people’s main dietary staple. It so happened she never knew it was a real plant rather than, with its crazy-sounding name similar to that of the Smurfs themselves, something made up from scratch for the universe of the comics. To this I built up another joke. This one too was intended to be a mere paragraph but got out of control. And I got the same kinds of reactions again, which was a bit mind-blowing.
Later on I started toying with the idea in my mind, realizing that I had as yet untapped creativity. Then a few concurrent things started happening. With my then girlfriend we started playing a game where we picked three words out of a book and had to improvise a story based on these three words. This later evolved into playing a kind of game with a couple of friends of mine where, each in turn, we gave each other three random words and had to respond with a story containing the three words. This is how I came up with some of the stories in The Edge of Reason, specifically “Charms” and “Personalities”.
Alongside that I stumbled upon a post on Buzzfeed or some equivalent featuring some of those “two-sentence horror stories”. One of them in particular attracted my attention: “I stared into the mirror. I swear I saw my reflection blink”. This inspired a possible plot line for a novel, which I started writing, playing with this concept and one vision of the Multiverse. This project very quickly ended up stalled and still is. Not one of my best performances – yet. It’s still on the backburner and I will get back to it.
Around this same time I decided to start posting these stories on blogs. So I created a Tumblr account (Random Tumbleweed) on which I posted some of my joke stories (which you can now find in The Humerus Bone section of this site). As the random inspiration came along, I kept writing posts and adding them to this blog. My sources of inspiration got more varied as well. On Tumblr proper I ran into some blogs to do with “shower thoughts”, which produced very interesting and witty idea associations that were perfect fodder for these jokes.
Later on I started writing commentaries on current events, politics, society, culture, etc. And in order to post them, as they didn’t really fit in my first Tumblr, I created another called Critic of Society as a place to share those stories aiming to give a bit of perspective on things. This particular Tumblr was integrated into this Website as The Antiidiotic.
And finally, following a painful break-up, I decided to dive deeper into this and started looking for writers’ groups on Facebook. Many of these groups offer regular writing prompts which, combined with other prompts found on Tumblr or elsewhere, served as fodder for most of the fiction short stories I’ve written. I posted these stories on yet another Tumblr blog, called Tumbleweed’s Short Stories, and you can find those on this site in the category The Afictionado.
My First Book
In those Facebook groups I met several other writers, some published authors and others not. One of these is a Kurdish girl living in Iraq, who was planning to publish her own book, an anthology of poems. Her name is Dlvan Zirak and she’s been very much instrumental in motivating me to get my stories farther out than ever before. She used Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform to release her own first book, 5 a.m. Thoughts and the ease with which she did this convinced me that it was within my reach.
About the time her book came out, I decided to take that big step. I had about 40-50 stories in reserve already, so I decided to pick out a dozen of them to gather into a single book and release in turn. That’s how The Edge of Reason came to be, containing twelve stories across multiple genres (thriller, horror, romance, fantasy, historical fiction, to name a few) written from various prompts. I followed in Dlvan’s footsteps and published the book on Nov. 8th, 2018 through Amazon’s KDP platform.
Good-bye Tumblr, Hello WordPress
The most recent step I took in this direction involved getting rid of my multiple Tumblr accounts and blogs to group everything together in a single Website. This allows me to manage everything with one single account and in one single place, and with a lot more functionality available to me. This site is the result of that transition.
And now I’m working on some other writing projects, including one novella called “Castles & Monsters”, which I hope to publish by this summer, and a new short story collection that I hope to release in mid-2021. And we’ll see from there on where my writing career takes me in the future.