Around the time I turned 21 the idea of writing came to me. Up until that time I imagined writing as something they do. I never thought writing was something attainable for someone like me. As far as I was concerned, writing was for the creative and I couldn't remember an ounce of artistic inspiration ever being produced by my fingers or sportscentric brain.
In my young and provincial mind a writer was someone who sold millions of books about fantasy worlds or they had some deeper understanding of life I’d yet to attain. Neither of those descriptions fit me, so why try writing? I was so close to a degree in Information Technology, it would have been daft of me to switch tracks again. I feared my Dad would have a conniption fit if I told him I was having yet another change of heart. He supported me while I shifted my majors between Biology to Undecided and then to Elementary Education. And he kept quiet when I transferred schools and awkwardly changed gears to IT. I didn't have it in me to tell him I was thinking of a change again. So, I didn't. I graduated, got a job, and reached for a Pale Ale.
I can remember tasting that Ale and feeling quite intimidated. Until that point, my idea of quality beer was Blue Moon (with an orange at that). I still laugh at myself when I think about that. But this new beer, Pale Ale, was intriguing to me. The powerful presence of bitter hops wasn't something I knew how to appreciate at first. In fact, I’m sure I didn't even truly enjoy my first few soirees with Pale Ale. The bitter flavors took over my palate like nothing I’d ever tasted before. And yet, I kept ordering them. Why, I can’t say for sure, but I assume it had something to do with coming to the realization that there was actually beer in the world that had the ability to transcend the yellow water typically used to get drunk. Beer wasn't just beer. Hell, Pale Ale wasn't just Pale Ale. There were India Pale Ales, American Pale Ales, English Pale Ales, Blonde Ales, and the list goes on. Slowly, I learned to love Pale Ales in all their variations. They weren't just a bitter beer anymore. They were complex, sometimes historical and other times forward thinking beers, and my new found respect for them opened me up to the world of craft beer as a whole.
Over time, probably with a little bit of Pale Ale induced optimism inside me, I decided I needed to write. My first few attempts left me frustrated and I didn't know if I wanted to continue. It was a struggle to find my place within this new hobby. The words didn't flow as easily as I thought they would and my ability to convey a clear thought wasn't always successful. But just like my first taste of Pale Ale, I didn't let the bitter taste dissuade me from pushing through and finding things out about myself I might have never known otherwise. My love for Pale Ale has directly led to this blog you’re visiting today. I developed such a passion for beer I wanted to write about it and the food I was eating. The satisfaction I derived from writing actually led me to beginning a kids book recently. I have no idea if the book will be good or if anyone will ever read it, but I do know that I’m infinitely happier behind a keyboard finding new things about myself one keystroke at a time. I don’t know about you, but I think that calls for a cheers. Usually, we do cheers with a drink, but I think in this case it’s appropriate to do a cheers for the drink itself. For if I never reached for that first Pale Ale, you probably wouldn’t be reading this right now. Cheers!
I wrote this as part of a Writing Contest hosted by Literature and Libation. Check his site out. It's excellent stuff.
If you happened to enjoy this post and are reading it prior to May 13th, 2013, please vote for my piece here.