Introduction to Tangential Writing

I lied. Somewhat.

The fact I enjoyed writing in high school and college shouldn’t surprise anyone (meaning the four of you actually reading this post). Criticism, fiction, and creative nonfiction writing fascinated me. They offered a structured outlet to get my thoughts into the world with enough wriggle room for creativity. Reading, knowing, and writing those genres brought a lot of frustration and joy to my incredibly boring life. I could argue about the symbolism in “The Metamorphosis,” create a meandering conversation between old high school friends turned college rivals, or have a completely honest conversation about myself with Peter Parker. Whether or not I succeeded in stringing words together into coherent sentences is for others to judge. All I knew for sure was that I loved it. Eventually I thought maybe I’d make a career out of wrapping words around ideas.

What the hell was I thinking?

Friends who knew about my passion (that’s you four again) regularly asked, “How’s the writing going?” after college. The lie started there. “Slowly,” I’d say. “I have a few ideas,” I’d say. “I’m jotting stuff down when it comes to me,” I’d say. All of these responses were true and not true. Idle thoughts and notions – even the title of this blog – have been pinballing around in my skull for years, but I never truly made an effort to nurture them. Didn’t anyone else understand there wasn’t any time? I was too busy eating breakfast, going to work, eating lunch, going back to work, driving home from work, eating dinner, exercising, showering, feeding the cat, having a life, taking out the trash, watching TV, paying bills, reading books, washing dishes, and…

Excuses. Every reason I had for not writing was simply an excuse that I did nothing about. Along the sprawling path of the past decade a few life events legitimately prevented me from writing. Still, those should’ve just been other obstacles to overcome, not more excuses. Writers write. I wasn’t a writer. Well, that’s also a bit of a lie.

After graduating in 2006, I looked for a job, got a job, found another job, and discovered a career in the same orbit of wrapping words around ideas. I still wasn’t on the right planet, though. Said career is almost a spin on a Faustian pact: my spiritual soul seemed to be doing just fine, but my creative one was suffering. My work involves a lot of technical writing, editing, and managing. I’m very good at it and like the work, but too often I’d use the exhaustion of responsibility as a reason to avoid my own writing again.

Despite however dormant my creative itch was – or how lazy I seemed to be – I still wanted to write. Luckily someone else interceded. I’ve had the pleasure of occasionally contributing to Philly Beer Scene. There I’ve enjoyed writing about beer-flavored ice cream, the archaeology of Ancient Ales, and an increasingly crowded beer market. Seeing someone else refer to me as “writer” made me realize what I fraud I had been.

A writer writes. It was then that I decided to write more. I write and edit on a daily basis, but I wanted to write for me. That’s something I missed…something I loved. That’s the purpose of this blog. Tangents’ layout will be a work-in-progress, much like the writing itself. I’m still finding my way around WordPress. Join me as I most likely fail in front of a live studio audience. At least by failing, I’ll know I’ve tried. My goal is to post something twice a month. I don’t have a particular structure for genres (why not all of them?) and when…but I have a few ideas. I mean it.