Nerdography: My Personal Journey

Posted: July 22, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Nerd Life, yo.First off, I use the ‘journey’ in a sardonic way; unless the journey in question relates to actual place-to-place travel or a 1970s rock band, I think it’s pretentious as hell to use the word to describe one’s life and experiences. Anyway…

I was an odd child. Too smart for my public school peers, I spent a lot of time shuttling around to various programs that were designed to feed my precocious brain, with varying levels of success. I had very little in common with the kids my age who went to the local grade school, other than outperforming them which, naturally, led to lots of bullying.

I was also a couple of years younger than the kids in my neighborhood and, while I could keep up with them in most subjects, I was still the young one, a matter which was never illustrated more clearly than the summer day when I was eight years old. We were riding our bikes home from the library when my front tire hitched on the seam where the asphalt of the road meets the concrete of the curb gutter, and I was thrown. I landed on the curb, tearing open my left knee. The other kids rode on home, leaving me there, blood running down my leg and into my shoe. I managed to get back on my slightly bent bike and rode the mile or so back to my house, and Mom promptly drove me to the hospital for stitches. As the doctor drained the pus and picked the bits of dirt from my wound, I was reading. When he pulled out the (seemingly) giant needle and sewed me up, I was reading.

That was the summer I abandoned the kids from the neighborhood. From that point forward, my summers were spent going to the library and back, sitting in my room or in the backyard, consuming books at a furious rate. One day, Dad brought home an 8mm film projector and as it so happened, the local library loaned out 8mm movies. So, in between all the books, more and more of which had to do with movies, I sequestered myself in the darkened hallway in our house and watched, fascinated, at the mini-dramas and comedies that played out on the white painted wall. After a while we graduated to a 16mm projector, which led to a visit to the main library downtown, where I was allowed to take out Metropolis, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and Nosferatu. I was hooked.

I also got deep into model building, which I had taken an interest in when Dad was recovering from his first heart attack. Dad was an insanely gifted builder, and I enjoyed putting to practice the techniques I had learned from him. Eventually, I went on to win a couple of contests. But still, my abiding love was books. Each Friday, I eagerly awaited the arrival of the Bookmobile, the mobile library that offered more eclectic selections than the local branch had.

And this was how most of my summers were spent, until high school or so. Summer also meant that the local UHF station, Channel 44, would show 1950s sitcoms every night, which I loved. The same station ran The Monkees in the afternoons; the bizarre show and its great music (I’m still a hardcore Michael Nesmith fan to this day) were a staple of my daily summer existence.

I was occasionally lonely, but most of the time I was just alone. Other kids were meaning less and less to me as I went deeper into my world of books and movies, a world in which I had more control and, subsequently, more pleasure. By and by, I made a friend named Neil who was similarly inclined, and we spent entire days taking the bus around town to used book stores, him looking for Star Trek paperbacks, and me looking mostly for horror and film books. We snuck into movies no one our age would have been allowed to see. Being a nerd alone was just fine; however, being in the company of a fellow nerd was liberating. To understand that I wasn’t the only one, there were others out there who were also obsessed with stuff that was off the beaten track was…nirvana. Nerdvana. Whatever it was, it gradually brought me back into the world of people around my age, who didn’t see me as a nuisance or a punching bag, who made me feel happy with being myself. From an early age, my friend dreamt of going to Hollywood and doing comedy and voice work, which he has done, with considerable success. My dream was to be a writer. I spent a lot of time dreaming of being a writer.

Now, at this most tender age, I finally have the confidence to stop dreaming of being a writer, and have become one. I guess I needed to go through some of the things I’ve gone through, seen what I’ve seen, felt what I’ve felt, before I found my voice.  So now, I write about movies, for a site that likes what I have to say, and the way that I choose to say it. My first novel is complete, and all I need is one literary agent to take me on. I’ve waited this long; a little longer is no big deal.

  1. Rita says:

    Love this… And can totally relate. I used to become frustrated when the school library would only let me check out one book at a time, but I needed two a night. This was just beautiful to read.

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