What I write and why I write it

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I write for one simple reason: I love telling interesting stories about people, the kind of stories that people remember and, hopefully, will pass on to others. Humans have probably told stories for as long as humans have been around. Ancient cave paintings tell stories about what people hunted. Petroglyphs, circles, ancient stone structures and other artifacts tell stories about the people that created them. Ancient writings are full of stories of gods and heroes, warfare, and how people saw the world they lived in. Men, women and children tell stories to one another. Everything that is advertised has a story told about it that, if the story is appealing, clicks with the viewer. That is why I love to tell stories, all kinds of stories.

Though I mostly write fiction, I also write poetry, because I love reading it. Besides, sometimes a poem, even a short one, is the best way to capture and describe something, as in these two examples:

Poem

The days move
swiftly by

while the nights move slowly
and are filled with dreams.
Starbucks Meditation

Around me
many voices,
chattering.
In the background,
someone sings
Guantanamera.
According to Scottish poet Kenneth White, a poem is the shortest form of story. Think about your favorite poem — doesn’t it tell a story, and tell it in a way that grabs your attention? Here is a longer example from my own poetry:
Rain

I understand how it is that
people think the woods
are full of spirits,

with the wind,
a phalanx of spirits
rushing toward me through

the treetops. I see
individual spirits, too,
stepping from tree to tree

as I sit here. Raindrops
strike leaves like fingers
hitting keyboards, and leaves

around me glisten with
wetness and shake themselves.
Above, the sky begins

to rumble, and I hear the whoosh
of great, gray wings
pulling the sky down.

I get up, take heavy slow steps
that sink into the moss and
dead leaves and carry me out

of the woods and to my car.
From inside, I watch as the
wind rushes from the woods

and across the field, and
the rain pounds down
in thunderous torrents.

The great gray wings

lift up, raising the sky
and rush north, and in the

woods the trees shudder,
sending showers down,
and the earth smells new.
As you read that poem, where does it take you? What does it remind you of? What pictures take shape? What stays with you?

When I write novels, I want the same kind of thing to happen to you as a reader — transported to another place where you‘ll meet interesting (but not always pleasant) people in places you may never have gone before except in your imagination.

My novels

Like every other writer, I began writing stories and novels long before any of them were published. The first ones were . . . well . . . pretty awful. We all go through that phase. I’d get the occasional story published, like Requiem for Blue, a story about an ex-convict in Chicago, The Disappearance, and Jonah’s Birth, all published in literary magazines. I published a collection of short stories (Fernandez’ Tale and Other Stories) using Tortoise and Hare Publications as a trade name several years before Amazon made ebooks popular. It wasn’t until 2008 when an editor in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia saw one of my stories in the online magazine Speak Without Interruption that I hit pay dirt. She liked my long short story The Old Man and The Monkey in the magazine, and suggested that I write a story and send it to Professor Mohammad Quayum in Kuala Lumpur, who was putting together a collection of short stories about Asia. Since I lived in Japan, I qualified. I wrote a story about a Tokyo artist (fictional) who had survived the carpet firebombing of Tokyo in March, 1945, sent it to him, he accepted it published it in A Rainbow Feast: New Asian Story Stories, published by Marshall Cavendish Editions in Singapore. I was over the moon!

Shortly after that, the editor of the Indie publisher Night Publishing offered me a contract to publish The Old Man and The Monkey. People loved it. From there, four full-length novels followed: Grandfather and The Raven, Bear, a story about a boy and his very unusual dog, Bear in Trouble, an Andy and Bear Mystery (to be published), and The City Has Many Faces, a love story about Mexico City, published in late 2014 by Tortoise and Hare Publications.

More about that in my next post.

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About gwpj

Originally from Seattle, I now live in Sapporo, Japan, where I write, explore this city, read widely, and ask questions about things that i see as important. I'm also an author, with three novels published ("The Old Man and The Monkey", "Grandfather and The Raven", and "Bear: a story about a boy and his unusual dog"). For more information about my writing, drop by my website, at www.geogepolleyauthor.com.
This entry was posted in art of writing, Fiction, George Polley, short stories and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to What I write and why I write it

  1. kgbookspub says:

    Very interesting post. I have a similiar blog if you ever want to stop by. http://tracykauffman.wordpress.com.
    Also, I offer help with finding a publisher and marketing, if you are interested. http://writingcoach.wix.com/fullspeedahead

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