2020 Year End
Updated: Dec 29, 2020
[ for December 2020: short story: Flying Car Angst; novel, Just before..., and poetry, Opus V.]
For Americans, indeed the world, this has been a trying year. Much can be said on the social and political aspects of this year… but this blog is not here for social or political comment.
Fortunately, as an unattached solitary novel writer and poet whose daily habit revolves around ‘making up stuff’ on a computer, I have been thankfully blessed and only nominally impacted by ‘the virus’, which by any other name would smell as rank.
I have published 2 novels, 15 short stories and 1 collection of poetry and been first-reader or edited 8 other books for friends. and wrote a weekly blog post for PWW (Professional Writers Writing) that began in January 2019 and concluded in February 2020.
It is in recognition of this year’s writing that I concluded “Poetic License #4121964 Opus V” with the following:
Author’s Note 3
Writing, for me, is a solitary affair whether it is poetry, short stories, or novels.
I’ve never gone in for critic groups or writing circles who pretend my ability to express myself is somehow dependent on their community project in which ‘they’ wish to advise and mold my expressions.
Writing has been my overall most productive mode of expression. With photography and digital image-making coming in second. Painting, which I thought was going to be my career, alas, became my least exercised mode of expression.
Perhaps it was because writing was the most accessible that it dominated and dominates. But, for whatever reason, poetry—my poetry—is populated with real or imagined characters whose voices and lives I listened to and watched. I was (am) for the most part telling their stories, writing their emotions.
That must seem odd, if not down right ludicrous, to those who only think of writing as an extremely structured affair.
In poetry, in addition to the ‘story/emotion’ expressed, there are the various forms within which the poet can contain him or her self.
In fiction writing, in particular novels, most understand (the myth) that writing has to be structured by outlining and plotting every character’s every move, every word.
In truth, I have never concerned myself with analyzing how, what or why I write/wrote. My process was to sit down and let the ideas flow out my fingers onto the page via pencil, pin, typewriter or computer keyboard.
It was not until few years ago that I heard another’s process defined… and I said, “That’s me!”
My process for writing novels is, at its heart, about listening to the characters and letting them tell me their stories. I do no plotting, no planning, no outlining.
I harness the horse of my critical mind to the hitching post and let the horses of my creative sub-conscious run free to follow the characters.
This process has been come to be known by Dean Wesley Smith, Harvey Stanbrough, me, and others by its acronym: WITD or Writing Into The Dark.
WITD is a process where the writer does not know where the story goes, how long it goes… or when it stops. It quite simply starts with the first word, first sentence… and goes on from there… until the characters finish their story.
When I discovered that WITD is exactly my process in fiction/novel writing, I had the epiphany of realizing that is how I have always written my poetry.
Make no mistake, unless your poetry is historical or autobiographical it is essentially fantasy, i.e. fiction. And, my friend, let’s be honest… where else do we suppose fiction or fantasy is created, but in our minds—our creative subconscious.
In opposition, is the “Just the facts, Ma’am!” critical conscious mind process of non-fiction, such as history and autobiography.
Ergo, for your own peace of mind, please recall or re-read Author Notes 1 & 2 from page 5 of the "Opus V".
This final thought re Author Note 3, because of the solitary nature of writing, in this case poetry, there is no one person to ‘acknowledge’ for their help in the production of this work “Opus V” or the previously published “Opus I, III, III, or IV”.
Of course, there have been a few people through the years who have encouraged me—chief among them my sister, Sherry Sadler McDonnell, who calls me the “wordsculptor”.
As for the others—selfishly, I will only say: “They know who they are.”
That said, I am immensely cognizant of all the people who have enriched my life as well as those encountered, observed and imagined who have speculatively fueled my creative subconscious.
I thank you for a lifetime of inspiration.
P.S. The fanciful concept of ‘a Muse’ is to an artist’s creative subconscious as real to the poet’s mind as air is to the poet’s lungs. Thus a Muse can never by adequately acknowledged except by the production of works inspired.