The Day I Became A Writer

Age: 14
Year: 2009
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

I found graffiti, or graffiti found me, but it's hard to remember exactly when. It's as if I woke up one day and my life revolved around tagging trains and train tracks.

I'd heard about back-riding. This is where you stand on a small block on the back of a train, holding onto only the windscreen wiper as it flies from station to station. I told my friend, who had done it once before, that I wanted to as well. It was like a rite of passage for a graffiti writer. We hid in a concrete box on the train tracks with our faces wrapped in spare shirts like makeshift balaclavas. With the train still coming to a stop, we ran down the tracks towards the unlit rear carriage, only to see another person already on the back of it. He waved us up; it was the same guy who had shown my friend how to do it just days before. Two was a tight fit, but three was unheard of. With about 3 seconds to make a call, we climbed on. More scared than I'd ever been in my life, I shouted, "If one of us falls off, we all jump off." Our older friend responded, "F#ck that!, falling off would hurt." I was serious, but he was making a joke. Deep down, we all knew that falling off meant certain death.

Each of us had one hand on the wiper and the other hand holding each other for dear life, with zero room for error. Three of us were risking our lives to tag a train that would most likely be cleaned the next morning, washing away our tags before anyone even had the chance to see them.

That was the day I became a writer.
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