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…I don’t think anyone truly plans on being a writer. I know I didn’t. Aside from writing assignments in school, the first thing I recall writing for fun was a short story involving some of my classmates. I made the girls plastic and the boys dense and it was all for a good laugh. This was before the internet, so it was just a few pieces of paper that made their way around the school for a few weeks. But everyone liked it and asked for more, so I’d do it again, every once in awhile, and it was always well received. But it never went beyond that, until the yearbook came out, and I found out I was the “Class Writer” – whatever that meant. I should have seen the light then, but I had other plans.
Escaping the small town I grew up in was priority one, and joining the Army to see the world was plan two or three, I forgot which. Doing so as a pilot had once been plan one, but that had been shot down early by poor eyesight. A lack of superior athletic ability, coupled with a desire to leave the classroom behind, placed further schooling at the bottom of the list. So it wasn’t a hard decision. The Army raised my spirits and opened my eyes as well. While I loved jumping out of airplanes and excelled at field craft, I was not a garrison trooper. Putting a creative mind that’s always thinking into such a robotic job just didn’t mesh well. Being discouraged from thinking is suffocating to us writer types, so the Army and I parted ways after several years. But I’ll always be grateful for what it taught me, most of which has served me well.
They tell you to never volunteer, but being adventuresome at the time, I raised my hand when they asked for people to be cross-trained as medics. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. After leaving the army and obtaining civilian licensure, being a paramedic was never less than a part-time job for many years. Eventually, I found my way to a helicopter, then a plane, then a classroom as an instructor.
But there were always the stories, ideas in my head, that had to come out. The habit of writing short tales about my classmates, fellow soldiers, students, and adventures as a medic, continued until I succumbed to the pressure and wrote my first full-length novel, entitled Closure, in 2009. From there, the writing genes kicked into high gear, and it’s been a book a year ever since.
The only bad thing that I’ve found about writing is that it really cuts into my reading time.
– Randall Wood