There was a specific moment in my life when I realized I was a writer. I'd tried to stop writing, to make my Mom happy. My dad had been a back-up singer for Nat "King" Cole, and had failed in his career, and it damaged my family. Mom was afraid my dreams would send me down the same drain. So when I got to Pepperdine University, I studied drama, radio, journalism, composition, literature...everything except writing. Dancing all around it. Then one day they announced a short story contest, and I entered. And won. And found myself reading my story to a field full of alumni who were smiling, and laughing, and nodding, and then applauding. And...I realized. I got it. I was a writer. THIS was what I loved, more than anything. And that I would rather fail as a writer than succeed at anything else. Never forgotten that moment, and it has sustained me for the rest of my life. No matter how bad things ever got, I CHOSE THIS. Never asked for an easy life. I asked to be strong enough to survive an authentic one. --Steven BarnesRead more Read less
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