That dude with the full beard who wrote the stories about the sea and people and most of it while drunk made me do it. Well, more accurately once I read a quote that said “Write drunk, edit sober,” I pretty much had free license to do as I pleased with pen, paper and booze after that.
Once I got a keyboard, heck that just opened the floodgates wide. Like taking a guy’s Datsun and giving him a Ferrari. Holy cow, look out! Nugent’s got a laptop! That was twenty years ago.
I got good grades in Mr. Moore’s high school creative writing class. I wrote a Star Trek parody called Star Trek (insert long Roman numeral here): The Wrath of Dreyers Grand Light. It fused two of my loves: science fiction and ice cream. The parody got an “A.” After that, many of my classmates came to me for essay help. I got a fat wallet. They got “C’s.” Never could figure out why.
Really, though, I knew I was on to something after I got out of high school. For a time my brother and I lived together in an apartment in Greeley. I had a burgeoning career as a mechanic at a dealership. He worked in tech support taking calls about laptop computers. Often he would bring a few home, either to diagnose or to train on. Through mutual agreement, I was able to spend long hours late at night testing the battery life while I wrote poetry or short stories or the occasional essay. Frequently there was either a beer bottle or a whiskey glass on the table in front of me, and little lighting save for an oil lamp or a candle to accompany the soothing tones of Led Zeppelin on the CD player. I was all about setting the mood. I never did discover a laptop maker whose batteries could outlast me.
As the writing piled up, I saved it on the now archaic 3.5” floppy disks. They got tossed in an old cardboard box in my closet, only to be pulled out on those occasions when I had to get something off my chest. When no laptops came home, I’d stay late after work to borrow a car salesman’s computer. In the dark of the office lit only by the glow of the monitor, I typed away. I also started emailing some of it to friends and family, casting it onto an internet that was still in its infancy in the mid ’90’s. After a few hours I let myself out through the back garage door. It clattered shut while I walked through the alley to my old Jeep, which had no top and gave me frostbite on snowy midnight drives home. I loved that Jeep.
Now I’m a much more sophisticated author. I quit drinking when my soon-to-be wife wouldn’t put up with those shenanigans. Being married almost 15 years is an improvement and a topic for a different blog. I own my own home, two vehicles (one still a Jeep) and a fancy-schmancy desktop where I write. I have a folder buried deep inside its diode-filled guts that holds almost a thousand various poems, stories, celebrations and lamentations. Most of these will never see the light of day. At least, not until someone’s editing skills become equivalent to the atomic bomb and can be dropped like a salvo onto my early, clumsy works. I’ve come a long way with Northern Colorado Writers, though. So who knows? One of these days you’ll see a mushroom cloud and an announcement of my debut novel. Remember to duck and cover.
Chris Nugent is a full time stay-at-home dad and part time free-lance writer. His work has been published in the Rusty Nail magazine, Northern Colorado Writers’ monthly newsletter The Write Stuff, and in the Colorado Four Wheel Drive Coalition’s quarterly newsletter. He is currently working on his first novel, Devil in the Dark.
When free from the desk, he loves to frolic nude in the outdoors, preferably in as remote areas as possible, and sometimes hunts for Bigfoot. Chris lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. His wife is a lovely sexy little thing, and his children make inmates cry. They are tears of joy.