A Writer Is “Born”

I have been working very hard on five additional chapters for “THE OTHER SIDE OF TOMORROW”.  I began writing it in 1992 as six short stories for Ken Atchity’s writing group. His clients would meet once a week and read and discuss their writings. My good friend, Millie Myers, was one of Ken’s clients.  Her husband Art had a heart attack and could not make the weekly drive with her to Los Angeles so I agreed to drive her.   At the first session at Ken’s apartment he told me that I would have to wait down stairs in the lobby unless I was writing and presenting.  So, I agreed to write a short story, and he allow me to join the group.

Millie had always seen me as a writer/storyteller, but it was Ken’s encouragement, teaching, and belief in me that transitioned me into a writer.  I wrote, over a period of several months, six short stories.  Ken helped me to fashion them into a novel which I originally called “A PILLAR OF SALT”.  It was my looking back.  Most of the stories evolved out of my growing up on Church Street in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and stories I had heard from my father, a great story teller, and my mother, a story creator.  As a child I did not see the beauty in Church Street and the people who made it such a vibrant stimulating place.  I ran away from Church Street when my brother, Jerry, died while in the Marines in California.  There were so many emotions then that I still can’t comprehend what took me away.  I had read a lot of good books, and my life was as much fantasy in my mind as the actuality of my existence.

I had neither heard of nor read Wallace Stegner at the point in my life when I discovered that I wanted most of all to be a writer.  It was Ken Atchity who introduced me to his great books and stories. The greatest of which to me was “CROSSING TO SAFETY”.  You cannot write even a little unless you read a lot, and you cannot write at all unless you do as Ken said, write with schedule, purpose, and passion.

 So here I am, 22 years down the road rewriting “A PILLAR OF SALT”, and finding that I have over the years changed in subtle ways.  I began by writing about duplicity, mendacity, lies.  I now believe that the great important thing is to try to understand and write about truth, love, and friendship.  I having spent most of my like telling “The Irish Truth” and spinning stories out of my imagination and I find it very hard to deal with hard edged truth.

Posted in Musings

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