Wednesday, August 27, 2008

ORIGIN OF A WRITER by David Terruso

On Wednesdays we usually have Dave Terruso's "Life of Letters", but we've got something different this week.

Animosity Pierre’s Dave Terruso here. You may know me as a sketch comedian, a guy who raps about licking butts, a guy who makes alphabet cartoons. But my true passion is writing. I’m an aspiring novelist and screenwriter, currently working on a revision of my seventh novel.

My passion for writing started as a passion for typewriters. When I was eleven, I found this old ‘70s electric typewriter, a black monolith that weighed more than I did, in my basement. I plugged it in and listened to the whirring and the chugging and the chigawwwing. Slipping in a sheet of college-ruled paper, I typed ffffffff for fifteen minutes. Bored with typing for the sound, I decided to write a short story. My story was one page, single-spaced, about vampires, and awful. I read it to my parents. They clapped when I was done, and I knew that I had found my career.

I wrote a few more stories, all of them about vampires, until disaster struck: the old typewriter ran out of ribbon. No one sold replacement ribbon for this outdated machine. I begged my parents to buy me a new typewriter. My mother refused, reminding me that even though I desperately wanted to be a writer this month, last month I’d desperately wanted to be a lawyer, and the month before I’d desperately wanted to be a firefighter.

After languishing for weeks without a typewriter (why I didn’t just write longhand is beyond me), opportunity knocked: the Philadelphia Daily News started a short story contest for kids in their Yo! Kids section. I convinced a neighbor to let me borrow her typewriter, wrote a story, and submitted it to the contest.

I’m pretty sure every story submitted eventually got into the paper, because mine did, and it was a horrible story. But getting published in the Daily News at twelve convinced my mom to buy me a typewriter for Christmas, and I was back in business. Eventually I wrote for love of writing and not for love of typewriters. Seventeen years later, I’m still at it.

Here is the story from the Philadelphia Daily News, September 12, 1991. It’s about vampires, of course; I didn’t move on from that topic until I started writing my first novel the following spring. I hope it makes you laugh.

(Click to enlarge)

(Life of Letters will return to its regular time slot next week)


Paul Triggiani said...

If this is terrible, am I supposed to read it?

I do see that you have a character named "Jeoffrey." Like you couldn't choose between "Jeffery" and "Geoffrey," so you invented a third option.

Dave T said...

Yes, Paul, I want you to read it because it's the funny kind of terrible.

I like inventing names! At that age, I believe I pronounced it Gee-offf-ery.

Kyle said...

That was fantastically awful. I can only imagine how poorly my own stories, written at a similar age, will hold up. But "We became heroes." is perhaps the greatest closing paragraph ever. It should be the end to everything else from now on.

Dave T said...

haha, thanks, Kyle. My favorite thing is how we spend hours looking for dry clothes. Hours.