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Reproduced with permission.
My mother is a writer, as was her mother, my grandmother. I never thought of myself as a writer. Growing up, I was the class artist. I never thought much of my class assignments as "writing," per se. They were homework, pure and simple.
My late father was an architect. His father, my grandfather, was a tailor. Growing up, I tried on many professions: artist, graphic designer, theatrical stage designer, architect. I went to college and graduate school, studied art and architecture. Went to work as an architect. Got licensed. Began to practice and teach architecture. I never thought of myself as a writer. Not once.
Of course, all this time, most of what I had been doing was writing. From writing class assignments in elementary school to high school term papers to book reports to essays to specifications notes to refereed journals to magazine articles and book reviews to talks and lectures to memos to meeting notes and contracts and letters of agreement. To my great surprise, most of what I do as a successful professional architect today is write.
So I'm learning to think of myself as a writer. I am still a practicing architect and installation artist. I still design buildings for people: houses, galleries, workplaces, schools, libraries, restaurants. And I still create site-specific sculptural installations. But I also write. A lot. I write reports to my clients advising them about their facility planning. I write letters to contractors. I write meeting memoranda. I write book reviews for the local newspaper. I write essays and give talks about art and urban development issues and the architectural scene. I spend a lot of time hunting and pecking at the keyboard on my laptop.
So, I'm a writer. I just turned forty years old and I'm just beginning to realize that this may be what I'm best at doing. I'm learning the name of what I do. Or maybe, for an architect, I'm a pretty decent writer. Whatever. I like to write. I like words. I'm glad I have never stopped writing. You can call yourself a writer, too. Just write.
Paul Rosenblatt AIA
SPRINGBOARD Architecture Communication Design LLC