Sunday, April 18, 2010

Why I Write

The daily activity of writing seems to keep me sane. I've heard the same is true about exercise for the physical fitness aficionados. For me, just the act of writing keeps me from thinking about the world around me in a negative way. But there is more to it than that. I mean for as therapeutic as it might be, I write for more of a reason than just that. Perhaps with any repetitive activity, it has become such a large portion of my life that I cannot live without it.
I started writing at a young age. When we were eleven, I wrote stories, and my friend Doug illustrated them. He was a big fan of monsters, so all of my stories included at least one. Writing the stories, little vignettes enlarged into epics, was the easy part. I never had the artistic ability to draw even the barbaric monsters born from my imagination and later embellished in Doug's perspective. All in all, it wasn't a bad way to start a career as a writer, having an audience of one, and it did keep us both out of trouble.
My military experience was the next evolution. The months I spent in Saudi Arabia leading up to the war, I had very little to do. Many of my colleagues, myself included, spent hours reading. Reading passed the time, this is true, but it also changed locations. Rather than being in the DMZ, I was in Steinbeck's California, and Hemingway's Spain. It was the long days before the invasion when I learned the importance of reading. In a micro and macro sense, I learned structure. The structure of a sentence is one part of it, and although this part may occasionally allude me, I know the macro sense of structure: how to tell a story. When it comes to my beliefs, I do not believe in war, and I wish war did not exist in the modern world, however; I enjoyed my war immensely. This was when I became a reader, and a writer only develops through reading.
I never thought anyone would ever read anything I wrote. I mean, Doug yes, we were kids. After the war, and my eventual return home, I was still writing. I suppose I never thought anyone would read this stuff, after all, I was nothing but a gutter punk turned soldier returned to gutter punkery. And besides, in those days, I wanted to be a botanist.
Rather than tell you about the early accomplishments that made me want to be a writer, like my first publication (“Fish of a Nazi Haven,” Bleeding Sheep, 1995) or my first writing instructor (Vance Aandahl), I would like to tell you about the random things. The randoms might be the rain during the long months of Portland winters which crop up as settings in many of my stories. The sounds the breeze makes ruffling a cotton dress is just as important as all the writing workshops I've attended. And then there is the light that hums out of street lamps in buzzing golden-green glows. This is the writing school I went through: the world around me, the urban, the inane and the mundane. For some reason though, it is more exciting on the page.
Well, welcome to my blog. I hope my work here is exciting to read, fun to discover and joyful rather than boring. Please look at the pages on the right where I have a few fun things listed. My work at Umbrella Factory Magazine and my work at RocketHouse studios is highlighted there. I'm proud of both of these organizations. The novels I have listed are ones I'm currently shopping around for publication. Lastly, just for fun, I have “The Story of the Week,” which I hope will really delight.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I solicit your comments, suggestions and critiques. Good reading.

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