Without a novel, it’s hard to call yourself a writer
It’s very hard to make money as a novel writer, yet cranking out novels is what most people imagine when I tell them I am a “writer”. Despite my interest in other ways of getting my message out, novels are required at some point if you want to be taken seriously. These massive projects require organization and creativity mixed with a very large dose of commitment to the art. Like everything I write, my novels exist because I have something to say. That’s what gives me the energy to keep going when it gets difficult.
When you are 3 1/4 inches tall and thoughtless humans destroy your home, you want revenge. One Hopneg’s journey in search of payback brings him something bigger. “Downriver” was written for teens but speaks to everyone who wants to be able to see those things we usually can’t.
I wrote this for my children originally, and it can be read by a fifth grader. In many ways, it is a cultural translation of the Tao Te Ching, building its message through stories rather than the dense poetry of Lao Tsu. Each chapter relates to a specific chapter of the Tao Te Ching, taking its title from the Ursula LeGuin translation.
In the end, the creatures that are so much smaller than us learn that no one really knows the big picture, and the most important thing to do is to take care of each other while enjoying the small moments. It’s a very non-Western book for kids in a very Western setting.
Self-published in October 2005. Click on the cover picture to find it at Amazon, or hit “play” to hear me read the first chapter.
My work in progress has the working title “Authenticity”. It is about a middle class guy who lives the good life in Miami, never working hard and chasing pleasure all the time. He knows something is missing in his life, and in his line of work creating fantasies he knows that what is missing is a sense of reality. When a woman who is entirely real does enter his life, his obsession with her destroys him completely.
I am writing this because I believe that reality is something off to the side of our lives. We live in a completely social and urban word where the rules are made by humans, not nature. A lot of modern literature is about a different world with a different reality, but I want reality itself to be the alternative in this case. We’ll just see how it goes.
I have a great writing coach, Ian Leask. He gets past the bullshit quickly and knows innately what matters in a story. He keeps it moving, which means that one day it will get done; the art of it is still up to me.