21st Century Brontë #1 by Brontë Bettencourt
The Road So Far
As a child, I spent hours regurgitating cartoon scenarios to my Grandpa long after he wanted me to shut up.
I would not stop talking, and I’m sure at the age I didn’t speak because I had some greater wisdom, but because I was fascinated with words. I like juggling them on my tongue like mouthwash, finding the right word to fully punch a punch line or add gravity to a drop in tone, and being that observant is proof of that talent.
To be honest, I don’t remember where I read that quotation. I’ve never read that pervert Henry Miller, but his words spoke to me decades after he passed away. According to him, my writing did not necessarily have to be good, because once I wrote a million words I would become a writer. My voice would matter.
I was the only kid in my school to earn a six on the writing portion of the statewide Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. But we all know that standardized testing is a lousy method of assessment.
Fast forward. I graduated UCF with a Bachelors in Creative Writing. I was the president of a thriving Anime and Japanese Culture club, as well as a chapter of the International English Honors Society, Sigma Tau Delta.
I am able support myself in a three bedroom apartment with two other friends, and minus the heavy shackle of student loans, I’m pretty decent with money thanks to my steady job working as a scheduler and coordinator for unemployment hearings. The pay gets me by, the hours are steady, and there is room for growth. One could ultimately be happy building their career in this company. Though not the job I intended to have once I graduated, it is a good first job.
When we marvel at the Rowlingesque fame and notoriety of a great author, a lot of us fail to see the gargantuan stress, insomnia, and compulsive, self-loathing-fueled revising that went into the books the great author had produced.
“You have to write a million words to find your voice as a writer,” Henry Miller says again. It’s not as simple as scribbling and re-scribbling the same idea on some detention room chalkboard that stretches into a purgatorial infinity. There’s impatience. Tears. Frustration of not finding the words. But a writer will keep limping forward, shoes on the wrong foot, up an icy mountain with the weight of their stories on their back, desperate to share with the world. Or a single reader.
What does it take for me to make it is a writer? What is considered making it? Getting published a few times? Being able to support myself by my words alone? Or maybe just being able to get over the hurtle of believing that everything I produce is an ungodly abomination?
Maybe writing is simply not giving up on your craft long after you’ve finished inflicting head trauma by pounding the words out of your skull. I assumed that eventually I would make it without defining what success meant. Instead I’m standing in a vast grassy field with a destination in mind, but lacking a map. This is why I quit playing Skyrim by the way: the immense freedom of the world was too shocking. (I also accidentally killed the first killable non-playable character, which scared me out of making other quick judgements). John King has gifted me with this blog, where I will ramble about books, videogames, anime, music, cartoons, and Dungeons & Dragons. The list seems immense, but it really boils down to a story.
Brontë Bettencourt (Episode 34) graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelors in English Creative Writing. When she’s not writing or working, she is a full time Dungeon Master and Youtube connoisseur.