It’s not that I am - or have ever been - anywhere near smart enough to have some sort of grand design in my creative life. I didn’t pay much attention in school, choosing instead to bury my face in books and comics of my own fancy. But, at some point in my early to mid teen years, I decided that the only way I was ever going to learn to write anything worth reading was to get my hands dirty, either metaphorically or literally - depending on the circumstances. So, at age eighteen, after a teenage wasteland of writing marginal, overly-dramatic poetry and playing in punk bands, I decided to move to the big city and work as an EMT.
After ten months on a transport ambulance, I went to paramedic school and became a 911 paramedic in Oakland, where I worked for about three years. It was an experience that showed me a whole new side of life: one filled with suffering, blight, pain, blood, vomit, joy, elation, and adrenaline. And, when that wasn’t new and not quite as exciting anymore, I began the lengthy process of trying to become a policeman.
Wouldn’t you know it? They hired me.
I’ve been a cop since 2002. I’ve worked a variety of assignments: patrol, in investigations and undercover (something I’m fairly well suited for, because I’ve often been told I look like a ruffian). During my tenure as a copper, I’ve seen friends, coworkers - heroes - murdered in the line of duty. I’ve had close, close brushes with my own demise. I’ve learned what mortal terror feels like, and what seemingly terrible devices each and every one of us has inside to survive. I have done things I am not proud of, but many more that I am.
As an outlet for the stresses of my career, and because I think my hands have been suitably soiled during my years of big-city public servitude, I write. I jot down poetry and post it on my ‘professional’ site. I compose silly satire for my stupid comedy site. And, in 2007, I finished the manuscript for my first novel. It’s about a cop, who is the manic, considerably more crazy, bizarro version of me.
My father, Stu Silver, is a writer by trade. He’s written films, television, plays and probably the dictionary. (Or so he said to me when I was five.) He once wrote a screenplay that became a major motion picture. I’ll give you a hint as to what it was called; it was about momma and a train... and throwing. In that flick, the protagonist, portrayed by Billy Crystal, says a line that stuck with me when I was a child and still does now that I’m almost a grown-up: “A writer writes, always.” Maybe that’s the grand design?
Thanks for reading, folks.