I started writing as an act of vengeance upon the red number 2 pencils that teachers used to drub my head in the late 60’s. My first major unpublished work was a trip diary of a family vacation spent driving from Wisconsin to California and back with Dad, Mom, sister and a Starcraft tent trailer. The book was bound in brown paper bag. The paper was angularly folded typing paper penetrated near its middle by staples.
I became a bass player in my pre-teens. “Sunshine of your love” & “Smoke on the water” anyone? Nuff about that. I played and smoked, read, but didn’t write.
When I got older and more mature, I moved on to writing insult poetry. You know “‘s so smelly, he doesn’t wash his hair, he smells like your nose is in the shit of a grizzly bear.” Awesome stuff. Me and a friend wrote these anti-love poems back and forth targeting each other, and sometimes targeting one of our non-poetic friends. I was soooo into Edgar Allen Poe at this point of my ’development’.
From there I headed back to music with my immense experience in writing over a hundred insult poems. This translated into a “Alice Cooper & Grand Funk meets an illiterate Neil Peart” style of lyric writing. My poor lead singer. Nuff said. I smoked, drank, and wrote.
Between 18 and 20 I took 3 semesters of Creative Writing at Fresno City College. This is where I learned to love language. Seriously. My teacher, DeWayne Rail was a stereotypical loveable grumpy writing teacher. It was a fantastic experience. I owe my love of language, and knowledge of great poets to Mr. Rail. My writing is still influenced by time in that class. (I was referred to anonymously as a “primitive punctuator”). Favorite authors from that time period: Theodore Roethke, James Dickey, Peter Wild & Ted Kooser.
Then I got married. I wrote a wedding prayer which was read at our wedding. I wrote a couple poems for my wife over the years, and started/stopped writing a few times over a 20 year period.
About 10 years ago I thought I would get serious about writing again. Mostly a cheap pen as my cheap psychiatrist/psychologist/medication/meditation. I started out writing description heavy awful poetry at a 24 hour diner in downtown Seattle a couple times a week. My writing improved a bit. I was at least enjoying myself. I wrote volumes of poetry and lyrics on flights to and from the east coast – business.
In the spring of 2012 I took a course from Berkleeonline called “Finding Your Voice”. Our most excellent teacher, Caroline Harvey, made this class a life changer for me. Now I am trying prose.
I am in a great writing group, and am taking whatever writing capabilities I possess and channeling them into prose. We’ll see how this goes.