by L. Vocem
Here's the Back Porch response to their question.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
When I was a small kid, I used to hide in closets and draw on the walls people, houses, horses, trees. If you looked under every piece of furniture in the house, you would find one of my drawings. Because of my dyslexia, I gravitated towards the visual arts. I did not want to deal with the tormenting reprimands I constantly got about my spelling. So I won prizes for my paintings and fell in love with the works of Gaugin, Goya, Delacroix, El Greco and was in awe by the Mexican muralist, telling bigger than life stories in grandiose spectacles of color and form. But painting went through a period of abstraction, of what I considered, reduced to a decoration and a piece of furniture. I wanted my paintings to tell stories, to move, to feel, to have angry characters, brave characters, epic dramas to unfold.
It wasn’t until I read two works that I felt that what I desperately wanted to do was write. That was “The Metamorphosis” by Frans Kafka and “As I Lay Dying” by William Faulkner. I was so shocked, so mesmerized that I then consumed like an junkie Hemingway, Marquez, Styron, Italo-Calvino, Flannery O’Connor and so on. It was then that my paintings became a zoetrope in my head and began to move. I traded my brushes and canvases for words and paper. I could now laugh, cry, be angry and find some deeper meaning in my work, but it took me many years to actually feel like I was a writer. I was just a dyslexic hack, writing was my secret, a closet addiction, besides my grammar was still horrible, my spelling bad, and English was in deed, my second language. But I was hooked and there was not turning back, and thus I became a writer.