I used to hear my minister father talk about his feeling that he had been ‘called’ to preach. He passed along to me a desire to find a place and a work in this world that was uniquely mine. It was presented as both a gift and a challenge to be called, to hear and to respond to any inner stirrings nudging me in a particular direction and toward a particular purpose.
I don’t remember exactly when my writing life began. My mother has poems saved from as early as second grade, but I was a skinny, high school bookworm trying to hide a southern accent and a spiritual and sexual identity crisis when writing became a way of life. Like so many who feel forced into hiding for one reason or another, writing became a way to be the me I was often too afraid to be except on the page.
Over the years writing would be at times a course of study, an extracurricular activity, a vocation, a part-time or full-time job, a comes-and-goes-career–and always my dream. Regardless of whether I published or was paid, it remained the place where I felt most at home, most at peace, and most myself. It was a way of coming out long before the official kickoff of that process.
Whether I’m writing a poem or an essay, a blog entry or a novel, whether it’s for a byline or a paycheck or an opportunity to help someone else say what they mean, I’m putting myself on the page. It’s my way of choosing to answer the only calling that has ever really made sense to me-and working from the only place that truly feels like home.
Dan Stone’s first novel, a gay romantic fantasy titled The Rest Of Our Lives, was published in June 2009 by Lethe Press. Also a teacher, coach, and intuitive consultant, he lives in Denver, CO, where he is working on a second novel, a children’s book, and a collection of poems. Visit his website.