“Medicine and writing are natural companions.” – Kevin Patterson.
Hello, my name is Ben.
I, like everyone else in the world, have a story. Before I get into what I will be promising to do from here on out, I would like to introduce myself so those who read this knows where the words are coming from.
My full name is Benjamin Albert Browning, born in the famous Palm Springs, Ca and lived my whole life of 24 years in a town just 9 miles north called Desert Hot Springs, Ca. Other than watching the great iconic movies from the 50’s to the 90’s, I spent a lot of time playing outside. Baseball influenced me greatly growing up, as well as playing other sports. My family is filled with highly educated and wealthy people. However, my parents I were not. My father a mechanic and my mother a dog trainer for the blind, I had fun like most kids, but I did have difficulties. I know what it is like to go to bed hungry, uncertain if I will get bullied at school, and Saturday morning cartoons could not come quickly enough.
Academically I was always within the top 5 in elementary, but struggled with reading, somehow. My spelling and writing were above average, I just was not able to read well. However, in middle school, I was taken aside out of class to take a “special reading test.” The results were clear to the staff. I was diagnosed with severe dyslexia. That was the answer to my problem. Ironic, right? Well, the irony will come later.
Passing through middle school and high school, academics bored me because they were too easy. Baseball was all that challenged me. I struggled transitioning from little league to high school ball. Every day, during season and in the off-season, when I got home from practice or school, I practiced at home–throwing a baseball against my brick wall with a duct-taped strike zone. Tirelessly trying harder, and harder, and harder.
I became better in every aspect of the game. I had to, or I would not be the best; my goal. One year after graduating high school with a 3.6 GPA and in the top 60 out of 417 of my class, I went from throwing 80 mph to 89 mph–barely professional speed. Maybe it was because I was 6’2 at the age of 17. A local scout that worked with the Kansas City Royals. They were interested in signing me as an outfielder and pitcher to their AAA team. Unfortunately, before I could make the trip to Fresno, Ca to sign the contract, myself and 3 friends were in a terrible car crash.
Thankfully, everyone survived with minor injuries, except for me. Head and arm injuries ended my chances of ever playing professional baseball again. Nauseously painful headaches became as common as breathing. I had them every day, even now I still suffer from them. Since baseball was not a career path for me anymore after being a dream since I was six years old, continuing college was my next choice. Military was another option, however, it went out the door just like baseball did. It did not matter that I scored a 92 on the ASVAB test, no branch would take me after sustaining my lifelong injuries.
A month after the car crash, I continued college in my pursuit of becoming a nurse, thanks to the heavy influence my grandmother gave me from her nursing experience, in addition to my already established fondness of the human biology and its resiliency. Our bodies can endure, adapt, and survive a lot of brutal punishment mentally and physically, it is amazing. Two years later, a blessing in disguise changed my life forever.
On July 15th, 2012 I became a father to a wonderful little girl. 1 year in, with my daughter and school, I could not afford both. So, I made a risky decision and switched my field of study from General Nursing to Literature. It was cheaper and faster to graduate, fortunately for me. Subsequently, my family did not see eye-to-eye on my choice. “It won’t pay the bills”, “It’s not a real career”, and “Stop this act and get a real job”, my family has said to me. Their disapproval and lack of support has not only been extremely hurtful, but also motivating.
Now, 2 1/2 years later, I have 2 books published (“Beautiful Nightmares” and “Love’s Syntax”), 16 articles published across five websites, poems featured on 2 websites, poems published in “The Summer Solstice” collection, and I also did the cover art for a band called, “Crow Effect” for their new album along with a custom poem to be on the front cover art and wrote my first 2 songs ever for them to be produced…two months ago. Adding to all of this, I am also working on 5 short stories that be published.
On Facebook and Instagram, I am known as B. A. Hunter (and his evil half M. E. Hunter, like a Jekyll and Hyde sort of thing), my pen name. Through this pseudonym I have created, many have said my writing reminds them of the legendary Ernest Hemingway and Charles Bukowski. Of course I do not see it, however I will take the complements to better myself and try to invent my own style as they did themselves in their time.
I have lost much sleep doing all of my writing. Mostly waiting until my family goes to be before I start at it, next the housework, then the writing, and sleep would only happen if I were lucky enough to get a few hours. Writing has become my medicine; expressing myself in ways I could not before, like many others have before me. Being the black sheep in my family, I choose to continue my “real career” and do more each and every day. All of this brings me to my promise. I would like to regularly post and blog about short stories and pieces of mine that will be exclusively for here, but copyrighted.
I am sorry, I must explain the irony I mentioned at the beginning of all of this. A writer…dyslexic… I am a dyslexic writer. Of course, some may see this as my destiny determined at such an early age and I “did not see it” then, but it was a happy coincidence through a series of events that were, at the time, unseemly, but now everything is where it should be, and I am happy to be here.
I hope you like what I have to write, and I wish I could have written more.