Tyler Bell is a former United States Marine Corps infantryman, journalist, and award-winning photographer. An unusual combination of military sensibility and artistic insight make his words pragmatic, intimate, and honest.
Writing has to hurt
At least if you want it to be any good.
The hurt doesn't come from just writing itself, that's a symptom as much as anything else. It's the memories of a life lived honest that hurt. Scraped knuckles and wounded pride, lost love and the sickening need for vengeance, those hurts are the seeds of good writing. Planted deep, they'll sprout into something great and terrible, something that grows by its own will.
Tyler was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the ass end of the 1980s. St. Judes Catholic School got rid of him by sixth grade and he came up in the public school system with the lions share of his generation. His childhood was a lot of hand-me-downs and hard work, of doing whether or not you wanted to and going back out to fight even if you were scared.
And he read. Lots. And thought about writing his own books.
The towers falling on 9/11 changed his plans for his future just about as much as anybody else in that era. And, five years after watching thousands die live in his freshman typing class, Tyler was clapped up in body armor with Second Battalion, Eighth Marines outside of Fallujah. He did three combat deployments with the Marines as an infantry 0331 and rejoined society drunk, angry, and pissed off about being alive when other people weren't.
Writing saved his life. He started with journalism in college and found himself suddenly drinking less and going out more, wanting to know about people. He could feel the world through their stories, through the scrawls they left on the inside of his skull, more than he could feel using his own skin. He found the shards of the person he could become inside others, and slowly, painstakingly put himself back together.
He caught the itch soon after and started writing for himself, doing whatever he could to commit the stories he couldn't write for the news to paper. Stories too grotesque or banally cruel for publication. The true lives of the blue collar folk he'd grown up alongside — folks the world just always seemed ready to write off and forget — he wrote about them.
He's still writing, and the writing still hurts.
But it has to, if it's going to be any good.