In an exciting and remarkable twist of fate, I was recently asked to speak before a writer's group about Writing. This is because I'm a writer, but more on that later. The nice lady who e-mailed me regarding the speaking engagement asked me a series of questions, and only one stymied me: "What is the address of your website?" Not "Do you have a website?" but "What is the address?" It occurred to me then that I've been slacking off. I've been doing this whole writing deal for a pretty decent length of time now, and I've never made the effort to create some kind of Professional Online Web Presence where people interested in my writing can go and follow my work and chuckle over my various bon mots. That sort of thing is expected in this modern age of ours. So anyway, here's my blog, and I hope you enjoy it.
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I am a writer. I always feel weird saying that, because it sounds simultaneously pretentious and obvious. It's obvious because nearly everyone is a writer in some way. If you write a grocery list or a letter telling your ex-boyfriend to stop driving slowly past your house every night, you are a writer. And it's pretentious because we all know the sorts of people who frequently identify themselves as writers. They shake your hand, tell you that they write, and then squint off into the distance in a very deep fashion, leaving you wishing your hand was free so you could deliver a swift rabbit punch to their solar plexus. Bearing all that in mind, I will now offer five reasons why I think I qualify as a Writer, listed in no particular order.
1. In May of 2009, I had a play (Ant Farm) produced at a new theatre called Studio Roanoke in downtown Roanoke, Virginia. Three out of the eight performances sold out, no one walked out during the middle of it, and if anyone demanded a refund, the staff didn't tell me.
2. I've done the 3 Day Novel Contest three years in a row, and the first novel I submitted (Big Nasty Heartbreaker) was a shortlisted entry for 2007, which basically meant it was in the top twenty out of nearly 500 submitted novels. So that's pretty neat. In case you were wondering, my 2008 novel (Nightjars) didn't receive any kind of mention because it was sort of terrible, and I just submitted my 2009 novel (Cat Killer) a few weeks ago, so I have to wait until January to find out how I did.
3. I've been attending No Shame Theater in Roanoke, VA since May 2006. I've attempted to do a piece nearly every week, which has resulted in a truly staggering number of five minute long sketches, monologues, and poems. I self-published a bunch of these in April 2008 in a collection called Hard Times for Ugly Men, which has proven fairly popular among both the ugly AND the attractive.
4. I placed second in a short story contest at my college back in 2007. My story (The Legend of Asshole Jones) won me fifty bucks, which I think I used towards a new pair of boots.
5. I recently spoke at a private all-girls high school about The Art of Writing. Everyone seemed to have a pretty good time.
Anyway, I hope I've proven I'm not some kind of pretentious charlatan. I hope to update this blog fairly frequently with updates on what I am writing and where I am going. I will also post things I have written so that you can post comments about how great I am (no constructive criticism, please, as I am a delicate flower).
In fact, I'm going to go ahead and post something now. Here's a YouTube clip of one of the coolest moments of my entire life. Through a series of awesome events which I may further explain at a later date, professional actor Toby Huss was in Roanoke last summer, and not only did I get to "act" alongside him in a staged reading of Jeff Goode's hilarious play Love Loves a Pornographer, he was kind enough to appear in my No Shame piece that Friday. It's called "The Boojum Mountain Yarn-Spinning Competition," featuring myself as Senator Jubal P. Mackeroy (a recurring character I play at No Shame Theater), Toby Huss as Dr. Savoy Calhoun, and the ever-talented Mr. Todd Ristau as the moderator of the event. I cannot stress enough how awesome it is to have one of your childhood heroes sitting beside you on a stage reading words you have written (and even cracking up at one particular point). I hope you enjoy it, and I'll see you soon, my friend!
Ben R. Williams