Joe Thomas, Private Eye
All storytellers have a beginning, a backstory if you will. Mine started in junior high, when I was inspired to tell the tale of Joe Thomas, Private Eye. Far from brilliant, it was three pages of awful, (or offal, take your pick). It was set in the 1980s when I was a teen, but apparently I was riffing on some bizarre combination of the Hardy Boys, the Maltese Falcon and Magnum, P.I. in my head as I wrote, then typed (yes, typed, like on a typewriter) the terrible tale.
My first line of fiction: "It was chilly night in Ol' Saint Louie". I so wish I were kidding. I had never read Edward George Bulwer-Lytton's "It was a dark and stormy night", but I suppose there is truth in the axiom that all good writers start out as bad writers.
The cliché-ridden story featured a car chase, missing money, sinister warehouse and, of course, the Italian mob. But at least now I have proof that sarcasm was my first language. A sample line of dialogue: "Great," I said. "Now the mafia has a price on our heads. Man, I hate Mondays."
A teenage Fitzgerald, I was not.
Thankfully, as I started writing more seriously in college, the dross fell away and my style became a bit more polished. I may not have created a character like Jay Gatsby yet, but Joe Thomas, thankfully, is in my rear-view mirror.
Right where he belongs.
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I've been writing stories and taking photos since I was old enough to hold a pencil and stand behind a tripod.