It started almost cliche, scripting and drawing comic books at the age of seven, using stick figures for people and the letter ‘M’ to represent birds and all but forcing my family to read them. Books were like portals to another world for me – a world I liked better than the one I was living in. Encyclopedia Brown and the Choose Your Own Adventure series became my circle of friends, and I spent nearly every day of my youth with them.
When a classmate introduced me to Alfred Hitchcock’s Three Investigators, I found my cocaine. I devoured the entire series – over 30 books – in a matter of months, reading some of them two or three times. When I discovered there were no more books in the series, an enormous hole split open inside of me. I wasn’t ready to let the Three Investigators go quietly into that good night. So one day I started writing my own young investigator series modeled after them, and I can still recall the epiphany I had when I read my own story for the first time: ‘I made this world. I made these people. I made them do everything they did. I built an entire universe within the page…’
I wrote five complete books – the shortest being about 80 pages, the longest over 200. I wrote them in pencil on binder paper. I was about 11. Since then, I’ve written more than I care to calculate, and my enthusiasm for building worlds and creating fantastic stories has never waned. If anything, it’s only gotten stronger. Writing is not a trade or a vocation, it’s a need. It’s a form of exorcism whereby I can capture the phantoms and sprites that reside inside of my mind and bring them to life on a piece of A4. It’s a way for me to puzzle things out, validate ideas, remind myself of certain truths, ruminate, ponder, fantasize, and build my own roller coasters. And, if I can create something that resonates with others as much as it resonates with me, then I can go to my grave content, knowing that my roller coaster brought joy to more than just myself. More than anything else, I want to share my ride so that other can have as much fun as I.
To quote Ray Bradbury: “If you did not write every day, the poisons would accumulate and you would begin to die, or act crazy, or both. You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Writing is a form of therapy. I write so that I may know myself and who I truly am underneath the soil – my roots which feed from the unconscious. I write so that I may conjure the souls that live within my own soul – the pieces of myself whom I have never met formally. I write so that I may see what lies behind my eyes instead of what’s in front, and know the wisdoms I feel are there – seeds in need of water and air. I write so that I may myself grow, and merge my realities with the realities that don’t belong to me, and, perhaps, if I am lucky, have a hell of a ride along the way.
My name is Mike Battaglia, and I am a writer.