Yeah I am. Big fucking deal. Just because I’m a little young to be doing this writing thing it doesn’t mean I’m not ahead of the curb. In fact, for someone my age to be as articulate as I am is a rarity and something that should be celebrated, not looked down upon. Yet for some crazy reason my worth as an author is often judged based on my age rather than its overall merit. People seem all too happy to have me pigeon-holed and compared to their idea of your arch-typical twenty five year old knuckle-dragger, but in reality I am so much more than that guy could ever dream of being. I may seem like a toddler in this industry compared to everyone else and their preconceptions of what an author should be. But I’m not here to play games. I’m here to break open your mind, tear down the walls guarding your heart, and expose you a world that you never even knew existed.
OK. Let’s stop for a second. Because it’s been a little while since I’ve broken into a rant on here and I don’t want to leave any of my readership feeling scorned. So before I descend into a rebellious string of fucks and poorly formulated ideas, I’ll say this: bear with me. There’s a point to all of this… Kind of.
Last month I attended a writing conference in New York City where I met many aspiring authors just like myself who are fighting that seemingly endless struggle to see their work in print. And although our catalysts and compulsions were similar, I was half the age of everyone else in attendance. To me this wasn’t an issue. I’ve always been an old soul; someone more comfortable in a lengthy discussion about the complexities of human nature than I am waiting in line for an overpriced drink in some fucking shit-box of a bar. But for the rest of the attendees at the conference I was somewhat of a side show. You’re how old dear? Oh, still a child! You still have so much to learn about writing, they would say. The truth however is that just because it took them a lifetime to learn how to string a sentence together it doesn’t mean that I’m the same.
So I rode out my time as a sideshow. Smiling politely as they respectfully teased about my age, blissfully unaware that I am ten times the writer that they ever were, or will ever be. They called me dear, and they spoke to me like I was their child (most of whom were older than I am), and I just nodded my head and played the part for their amusement. But by the end of the trip when the golden oldies slunk away from the conference having learned something to improve their craft I had a fucking scrap book full of agents contact details and verbal agreements to have my work to them asap. The point is this: age is a terrible indicator of a person’s catalysts, compulsions, talent or mindset. And to limit your perceptions of me that younger guy who writes is just fucking stupid. Because I’m a hell of a lot better than that; and for me, this is only the beginning of my journey.
Oftentimes when I tell people that I write I’m met with scepticism. It’s nothing much; usually a barely perceptible flaring of the nostrils and the squint of a cynic as people assess my character and my fortitude on the fact that I still look a little young. But you’re so young! They say. What possible life experience could you draw upon to craft something wonderful through literature? Jesus, sometimes it feels as though my whole life is a fucking repeat of that damn conference, even though I’ve got more life experience than most people twice my age. That’s not to say I’ve run the gamut of life and witnessed it all; I’ve definitely seen some shit. But there’s still a big world out there for me to discover and conquer. All I’m saying is that I’m cluey enough to take on board the experiences that I have been fortunate enough to have and learn from them.
So yes. I’m twenty five and an aspiring author. Yes, I’m younger than your average writer by a decade or two. And yes I’ve fucked up a lot of things in the past as you all know through this blog. I’ve thrown away careers, buried friendships, and pushed myself beyond breaking point in order to produce better quality work, but to assess me or my work based on something as trivial as the year I was born seems not only unfair but also a little ignorant. I’m brash, I’m headstrong, opinionated, and when you put a pen in my hand I’m a narcissist in every sense of the word. But I’m also a phenomenal writer and the best damn thing that is going to happen to literature in my lifetime (seriously, watch this space).
So to everyone out there who takes issue with the fact that I am a little under the median age in this business I’ll say this: broaden your horizons, take a chance on a younger author and allow me the opportunity to do everything that I said I would. Let me reach inside your mind and show you a new way of thinking. Let me climb inside your heart and show you love, fear, hatred and compassion in ways that you never believed possible. Lend me your eyes and let me show you a world so inherently different to this one that you will learn to redefine just how beautiful literature can be. Stop judging my work based on my age, because it really can speak for itself. I may be young by writing standards, but my youth provides me the time to grow and develop upon the skillset that is gaining interest.