Good evening! I have spent the last couple months lurking these forums and reading various stories, ideas, strategies, and exercises all about writing. I have been vastly impressed by the knowledge many of the members possess on these boards and hope to benefit from them myself. It took me quite awhile to muster up the courage to even do this. Yet, I am not even sure why. As a child and pre-teen I was always buried in some book or magazine article. I still remember the old dusty smell my middle school library had where I found a copy of John Grisham's "A Time to Kill" and fell in love with reading for pleasure. My parents always encouraged academic studies and read to my sisters and I in the evening which I believe only enhanced my interest and ability to read and interpret literature. I was even known to enjoy cracking open a thesaurus at 13 years old and find words that I couldn't even pronounce. I truly enjoyed and was inspired by authors who could invoke such an emotion that you never thought you could feel. However at some point in my life I completely lost interest in everything that had to do with story telling. There is a chronological gap in my memory that I was never able to recall that this transition occurred. A few major life changing events did happen- my parents divorced, my siblings and I were split up, and I lived with a single parent in a very poor part of the city I lived in. But, I never really connected them and I was never really interested in finding out what happened. I didn't make many friends growing up and stayed to myself. If a book wasn't assigned to me by a school teacher I did not read it. I spent most of my time watching TV or fishing out in the creek I lived by. Flash forward to 2011. I was a few months shy of my 25th birthday. There was an air show going on about 4 hours away that I had been anticipating for quite some time. So on a chilly fall evening I loaded up the car with a weekends worth of clothing, pressured my reluctant girlfriend to get in the car, and we headed off to be what I assumed would be a weekend of magnificent aerial display. Too bad we never made it. That evening just after sunset apparently a deer jumped out infront of us and I hit it going 75MPH. I don't remember this at all- I remember getting in the car and heading out. Next, I remember waking up in the hospital the next day and the sheer terror of not knowing what was going on, where I was, or any other relevant fact. They all escaped me. The sick feeling in my stomach and excruciating head pain is something I don't think I will ever forget however. My girlfriend was there in my room with a pair of crutches and explained to me what happened. The deer was hit on the driver side of the car and it's rear end was lifted ontop of the car before crashing through the windshield on my side. My car at the time was a convertible and it pretty much sheared the vinyl top of the car off through the driver side. I still do not remember this accident at all. It is a frightening feeling that something could happen like this and there is nothing I could do about it. It was a real wake up call. It really changed me; but not just in a growing up self-discovery change where I realize I am not invincible. I was suddenly bursting at the seams with ideas. I had a hunger for reading that was insatiable. I am averaging around 10 books a month (I suppose that is good?). I could not stop. I still can't. I spend most of my evenings now reading. When my girlfriend and I spend nights together, we usually end them by reading in bed. I used to turn my nose up to her when she would read while I played with the newest app on my phone, or remoted into the office to do some work (IT guy here- always work to do!). But now- it is something I can't get enough of. As I stated, I also have ideas. Characters I have created in my head. Stories. Events. Situations. Locations. I find myself playing "What if" when I am reading, watching TV, or just people watching. I not only read books but I ask myself that question that we all should be asking... "Why?". Motivation is a powerful thing and I feel like I have to know why people are doing what they are doing. I have so much of these what if, why, how comes, etc in my head- I don't know how to get it all out. A lot of times I just type it all out. I don't weave them together or try to write a story. I make lists. I list all of these thoughts in my head because if I don't I think I am going to explode. I need that release. It is a euphoric feeling I have never experienced before in my life. The problem is- when it comes to putting them all together in an actual story I lose focus and become extremely intimidated and afraid. I feel an embedded fear. I am a bit hesitant to include this part of my life- but I am going to anyway. I have no idea if this is real or not but I remember a specific event when I was younger about stories I wrote. I kept a notebook with me and I wrote stories in them all the time. I confirmed this with my father who had custody of me and he recalls me carrying this around- but, he couldn't be 100% sure (he traveled a lot for work). It was my escape from the world I lived in- a run down part of Atlanta where police were seen all the time arresting people for all sorts of crimes. I recall walking from the bus stop to the apartment I lived in after school and a group of older kids took my backpack. They rifled through it before finding my notebook. They must have known how I felt about it because as soon as they found it I could feel my heart sink and my face must have revealed that. They began reading my stories out loud and laughing. They were calling me names and teasing me. I can't recall exactly what lead up to this scuffle but it ended up with me at the bathroom sink in the apartment with a bloody nose and a backpack that was light by one notebook. My father was away for work but when he returned a few days a later I never told him what happened- I didn't want him to be ashamed of me. I never got that notebook back either. And that is around the same time I completely lost interest in anything that had to do with books/reading. This memory bothered me greatly. It ate at me so much because I didn't even know if it was real. I went to see a councilor twice because of it. I still do not know the answer of whether it is real or not but to be honest... it doesn't even matter to me anymore. Like the councilor told me... whether it was real and I mentally blocked it out after awhile as a way to coop with that part of my childhood, or if it is now a complete figment of my imagination as a simple way for me to explain why I suddenly have this creative urge or not does not matter. What matters is that I now have this burning desire to not only consume the creative productions of authors, but I now have the urge to paint and explore my own ideas through the creative outlet of writing.... oh and that I also bought a truck; I'd like to see a deer come at me now. I have no idea if I want to attempt to even publish anything. I don't think that is one of my goals. I am simply elated to have this outlet that has been a driving force in my life for almost 7 months now. My girlfriend thinks I am insane now ha, but she is supportive. I hope to learn a lot through these boards, make some friends, and find some ways to help focus my thoughts and ideas into a coherent message. And somehow get over my fear of putting something together worth posting. Until then, I'll gladly provide amateur critiques from an avid reader and participate where I can. Sorry if this post was long winded, jumbled up, or seemed all over the place. I haven't really talked about all of this with anyone to a large extent and had a lot to say! LOL! Thanks guys! See you around here!