An AutoBiography by Benjamin J. Kreger
Determining how far back into your life should you go, and what is relevant to the reason you’re sharing your life is not easy figuring out. Here I am, giving it a go because as a writer, I’m as interested in the journey of the writer as I am in what they write. I’m hoping you are too, after all, you’re reading this blog.
I’ll start on December 15th, 1978. Thirty-seven years ago, my parents brought my older brother and I to an exciting new major motion picture. My mother recounts I was the kind of child she didn’t have to worry about, she could sit me down and I’d quietly play, the exact opposite of my older brother. I’m told, I sat, my eyes as big as can be, enthralled with the blue and red costumed hero up on that giant screen. I’m sure you all will call me silly but I swear to this day, seeing Superman flying on the big screen is my very first memory and it must have been that moment I began to believe, a man could fly.
I’ve spent the better part of my life attempting to learn how, at least, in the metaphorical sense.
It was my mother who introduced me to the arts. As a mother in the ‘80’s, she stayed at home, raising three rowdy boys. When she wasn’t creating something crafty for us, she was doing something crafty with us. My favorite was always Shrinky Dinks (if you don’t know what they are or why they are cool, you’ll just have to google it.) During church services, she’d keep me entertained by drawing doggies and kitty cats on the back of donation cards. I doubt she’d ever take credit for her sons being as creative as we are, but I’m pretty sure it was her genetics coupled with the time she spent with us doing artsy stuff, which instilled creativity in us more than anything else.
We moved a LOT but always stayed in the Northwest States of Washington & Oregon. I was already an awkward child, and always being the new kid at school didn’t help. Being shy on top of all that, it would seem I was destined to be a geek.
I found in art an escape, a peace. I was most content when creating something. So, when my 4th Grade Teacher gave us an art project, I was always really excited. Most have been forgotten, but one remains. We were instructed to take shapes cut from construction paper and glue them together in a quilt like pattern. The next day, I entered my classroom to see everyone’s paper quilt up on the walls going all the way around the room, all of them except mine. Confused, I went to my teacher and asked her where mine was hung, thinking I just couldn’t find it. She pulled it out from behind her desk and scolded me, far too harshly, saying I hadn’t put any effort into it and to take this piece of trash home before she threw it away.
Obviously, this broke my young heart. I had put all my effort into it, at least as much as anyone else. Construction paper and glue just aren’t my medium. The sensitive boy I was, I cried pretty much until the end of the day when I finally got home. My mother asked what was wrong and I told her. She wasted no time in getting on the phone and laying into her.
Now, I’m not lamenting over an act of ignorant cruelty which happened decades ago but rather reflecting on it. You see, this wasn’t the first time someone who should have known better tried to beat the creativity out of me nor was it the last time. However, it was a significant point in my life. One I’ve learned from, though it took many hard lessons to learn. I am a stubborn bastard at times.
I was torn down again and again. I’m sure many a fellow geek can relate. But it was in being torn down I was able to build myself back up and maybe even stand a little taller. Soon I was able to muster enough confidence to put my work out there for the world to see. I’ve been lucky in that people have a positive response to my work, whether it be writing, graphic design or lettering comics. It’s a nice turn of events.
I’m nearly 7 years into this creator's journey. I happy to share it with you and if you’ve read this much then maybe I’ve at least interested you in who I am, allowing you to give a damn. One can hope.