I can best sum up my worldview as a general dissatisfaction with life. For whatever reason, I find it difficult to draw any joy from the things I accomplish, other than a fleeting sense that I’ve done something worthwhile, before focusing on the next task at hand. Because of this, I seek out new situations and experiences to compensate for it. I try new foods I never imagined I’d eat, like sushi and escargot, I take spontaneous road trips whenever I hear of an interesting place that’s not too far away, and when I’m in a reading mood, I pick up an author or genre outside my area of interest. Perhaps that’s one reason why I write, to create a world that’s familiar but outside the world I inhabit, one that’s unique and set up according to the rules I establish. In my fictional universe, I don’t exist in corporeal form.
I have always expressed myself better through writing than speaking. At Georgia State University (GSU), I had an opportunity to get on the student run radio station (WRAS 88.5) as a deejay. Many people over time have remarked that I have a good speaking voice. I went by the station but was unable to learn anything about the process and instead approached the newspaper about working with them. For about a year, I wrote a humorous column under an assumed name as well as feature pieces for the Tuesday Magazine section as “G. Matthew Lupo” which included interviews with faculty and reviews of entertainment events around town. I still have a coffee cup I received while covering a Trivial Pursuit competition downtown. My work with the paper fizzled out over time as many of my “team” endeavors do. It wasn’t until years after I graduated that I finally learned what I should have done to get on the radio.
I started writing very early while in elementary school in Atlanta. I wrote and drew up comics based on situations I encountered near my home that I used to amuse schoolmates and friends in the neighborhood. From my grandmother, I inherited a modicum of artistic talent that I’ve never cultivated, and the comics relied on a great deal of humor at the expense of people who ranged from pitiable to extremely dangerous due to alcoholism, drug addiction, physical, or mental infirmities. None of this registered with me at the time. As I got older, I started incorporating humor I heard on late-night television and learned many of my schoolmates weren’t allowed to stay up to watch most of it since they rarely got the jokes.
Late in high school, I attempted my first novel about a set of identical twins who were separated as children, something I knew nothing about. It represented a sort of wish fulfillment, since I had always wanted a twin. It was also during high school where I wrote most of my poetry, which met with a bit more success than my prose at the time. Senior year, I proposed an idea for the opening section of the yearbook and found myself assigned to developing it. I also had two poems published in it, which represent my first published work.
In addition to writing for the newspaper in college, I also had poems and one short story published in the school’s literary magazine The GSU Review. My story, Suzi Thunder, received a positive mention in a review of the magazine published in The Signal. A number of my earliest short stories were written during my undergraduate career but none were published until I featured them on my blog, Raised by Wolves starting in 2014. Most of them ended up in Freedom and Consequence and later Words Words Words (for reasons I can’t recall, I omitted Suzi Thunder from Words; it will be in the update if I ever get around to releasing it).
For grad school, I spent two years at New York University (NYU) boring my classmates with endless revisions of a novel I never finished. One of my instructors finally told me that if I brought it to workshop again, he wasn’t going to read it and instead assigned me a writing prompt. In retrospect, I did not take advantage of my time at NYU and foundered about for a year or so afterward, until discovery of the Internet rekindled my desire to write.
The main answer to why I write is because I write. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. It’s something I’ve always been inclined to do and once I realized I could attract someone’s attention doing it, I decided to stick with it. I still haven’t met with the greatest success in getting people to read or review my work but nevertheless, I continue on. I surmise it’s the same for many writers.