A Brief History of My Lifetime Love Affair with Writing
1989 - the '90s
Or, "When I Meet Words"
At around age 3, I learn how to read. Starting with Frog and Toad then graduating to The Babysitter’s Club and The Boxcar Children series, and eventually, exclusively Judy Blume. In 7th grade, I write a brooding poem in homeroom that gets published in my fancy French school's monthly newsletter.
Or, "When Teenage Angst Happens"
I'm accepted into my public high school’s AP English class, discovering Charles Dickens, Ayn Rand, George Orwell. I'm kind of the remedial student in the advanced class. Secretly, I write about unrequited love and loss. I eat most of my lunches in the back of the empty English classroom.
Or, "When ceYO is Born"
I begin listening to Erykah Badu and Fiona Apple obsessively. I decide to attend my state university, and invent a slam poet alias named "ceYO" (retiring from my brief three semester career after a humiliating performance at an art show one St. Patty’s day). I'm nominated for a creative writing award from the English department, winning $100 and a free lunch.
2005 - 2009
Or, "When I Start Adulting, Kinda"
I graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and English. I leave my home for good to explore the greater world, and “find myself” - in true millennial fashion.
I spend a summer volunteering at a youth center in the Philippines. I teach English to preschool and elementary students in South Korea for a year. I serve in the Peace Corps in rural Madagascar (then in urban New Jersey with AmeriCorps).
I write about my adventures for local publications. I drink the travel blogging KoolAid. I tutor, nanny, and wait tables to make ends meet, and to be inspired. My family starts to worry that I'll never get a "real job."
My writing career has been a magical succession of failures.
Or, "When I Find Home"
I move to the Bay Area, where I eventually carve out a niche in the startup / tech space - offering digital marketing services for small companies. I build a thriving consulting business. I take time to focus on my own writing, self-publishing my first collections of poems and essays.
2016 - Present
Or, "When I Realize That My Career Will Never Be A Traditional One"
I learn, after all those years, that I'm a natural storyteller (and story listener), teacher, and entrepreneur. I have really good ideas. I'm really bad at doing life the "normal" way. I learn that I will never stop learning. And I will always, always be writing. I keep chasing the Next Big Thing.
Photos by Regina Felice Photography