[From David Sedaris’s Diaries: A Visual Compendium]
I started writing every day in seventh grade. At the time I lived in Connecticut. You know when you read Walden by Thoreau and you get the assignment to keep a journal? Well, I kept doing that.
I was a nerd, an outcast because I was caught and shamed for reading the novelizations of Death of Superman and Batman: Knightfall. Event comics felt too big for me to keep up with. I’m still allergic to event comics. So I read the novel adaptations by Denny O’Neill and Roger Stern to catch up on what happened.
That’s when the idea struck me with The Flash and his big event—“Terminal Velocity”—to adapt that into the novel.
I started doing it on a typewriter, because this was 1993, and we didn’t have a functioning computer. Well, there was a functioning computer just not one I could use for writing purposes. It was an IBM that only ran DOS with a black screen and green type from the Matrix. Nobody in my family knew how to use it, so I used my dad’s word processor.
In eighth grade we got a Gateway 2000 and I retyped my novel adaption of Terminal Velocity into Microsoft Word. It was a breakthrough. Word was the only program I could figure out. That’s still true. It’s still my favorite word processing program despite the fact that I’m writing this post in Scrivener right now. But everything was started by hand in leather-bound journals that my dad brought home from overseas business trips. Adapting the Flash comics turned me onto many other teenage heroes of the early ‘90s like Impulse, Chamber, and The Ray (who was in his twenties but still acted like a teen.) I would write journal entries in their voices. Rewrite captions and copy handwriting lettering that appeared in Impulse #1 by Mark Waid and Humberto Ramos. I was learning to write from comic books.
I had no friends. Ridiculed for my Flash trucker hat and my leather bound journals, I needed something to keep me busy.
At this time I told my mom that I wanted to be a comics and fiction writer. Like all parents, she casually suggested something more practical. Being a comic book nerd, I watched Lois and Clark (with Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher.) The show focused on Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s burgeoning relationship than Superman’s adventures. It was their jobs as reporters for the Daily Planet. A memorable line from that show refutes Tarantino’s Superman thesis: “Clark Kent is who I am, Superman is just something I do.”
So I said “journalist” to ease my mom’s nerves, but still—to this day—being a comics and fiction writer is what I’m passionate about. Journalism is something I do, but haven’t done in a year.