Here it is. I’ve opened up a window on my work computer and I’m doing something I keep saying I’m going to do tomorrow. (Don’t worry, I’m on my lunch break).
Like so many other things, I have always wanted to be a writer. I love words. I love reading. I love speaking. I love the glee of composing a finely-tuned sentence and then stepping back to look at what I’ve accomplished. After the first draft, I love to go back and rearrange the pieces with care and empathy for the reader. I like to imagine what it will be like for them to look at simple marks on a page and somehow, through the words I’ve chosen, have a better understanding of some concept, some piece of information, or some insight into my thoughts.
Last year, I spent a lot of time thinking about two writers in particular: Alexander Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda. In fact, lately it’s difficult to think of one without the other. Both are immigrants, both lived in New York, and both had monumentally busy lives. More importantly, they become better people by their words. Hamilton, “by the sheer force of his rhetoric,” propelled himself from solitude and poverty on an obscure island in the Caribbean to become a legendary figure in history. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, there’s a musical and a biography I think you should check out.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, however, I know much less about. I know he’s a rapper. I know he’s a writer. I know that he is Puerto Rican and is passionate about his heritage. I know that despite lacking in some of the more traditional areas of what a Broadway star “should” be, Lin-Manuel Miranda has become a darling of musicals and has made himself into the most marketable song-writer on the planet right now.
(Aside: I’m reminded of a style issue. Traditionally, when you’re writing an article about someone, you’re encouraged to introduce them using they’re full name, which I have done with Lin-Manuel Miranda. After you’ve done so, you have the option of shortening it down to either just a last name or a first name. Hyphens aside, it feels weird to call him Lin-Manuel when I don’t even know the guy. It feels even weirder to refer to him as “Miranda.” Maybe this is because Miranda is not only a Hispanic surname, but in my mind it’s a girl’s first name. Maybe this is because his image is so casual that it’s difficult to picture him as being referred to as “Miranda.” The picture in my mind is of some gruff police sergeant calling Lin-Manuel Miranda into his office to answer for the wild antics that City Hall has been complaining about. Either way, this has turned his full name, “Lin-Manuel Miranda,” into something like a magic incantation, half whispered as we all get excited to hear what he’s up to next. Aside over.)
Well, I didn’t mean to follow the 5-paragraph essay style, but it looks like that’s where we’re heading!
I could try to sound really smart and say “In his book, On Writing, Stephen King says…” but that would be dishonest. I don’t actually know what Stephen King says in that book. I haven’t read it. I should probably do that. One time I read that one time Stephen King wrote that he sits down for a set portion of time every day to write with reckless abandon. He doesn’t outline. He doesn’t plan. He just puts words to paper and goes for it. In this stage, there are no bad ideas. There are no good ideas. There are only the beginnings of ideas. He then looks back later to see what he has done. And that’s what I’m doing here.
(Aside: if that is in fact not what Stephen King said he does and I’m remembering it incorrectly, then the idea came from somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain and I would like to take full credit for this accidentally great idea now. You can rent it from me for a small fee. Aside over.)
The basic thought here is that I like to write, and writing can lead places, so why don’t I just start writing and see where this leads? I’ve got lots of ideas. Mostly non-fiction. I’ll keep you updated if there’s anything worth posting.
In conclusion, that’s it.