Sunday, October 20, 2013

Portrait of a Writer





Spoiler alert! I tell how my novel Murder on Ceres ends.
   It's been a long time coming, but I am a writer. What did it take? A novel.

   I've been writing since the Third Grade. In those days it was short fiction and poetry. I didn't know I was writing short fiction. It was just stories. But I knew when I wrote poetry because it rhymed. My teachers were always supportive. When the weather outside was too cold or too rainy we stayed indoors during recess and the teacher read my stories. My status among my peers was guaranteed--writing and tether ball.

   There was never a suggestion that I should submit my work for publication. I don't think anyone I knew had any personal experience with the publishing world. In fact, I was a Senior in High School before I met anyone who'd been published. I don't remember his name, but I remember listening to him talk about a story he'd had accepted by a major magazine. Playboy, actually. Such an exotic publication. Not available over the counter in my small Oklahoma town. And then he said that of the national magazines that published fiction, they paid the most money. Money? How cool was that! Of course not even he envisioned quiting his day job. He was the editor of the local newspaper. Journalism, however, did not qualify as writing as far as I was concerned. After all I wrote for our school newspaper and later for that same small-town, twice a week newspaper.

   But I came to understand there were writers actually living and working in the real world, right then.

   College expanded my world exponentially. I went to poetry readings. They read famous long dead poets like William Shakespeare and Emily Dickenson. They read recently dead poets like e. e. cummings. Antiwar poets like Amy Lowell from my grandfathers' war. And their own antiwar poetry from our own war. And sometimes it rhymed, but more often not. Somehow poets did not qualify in my mind as writers. After all I could and did write poetry.

   My resume became an amalgam of the American working life--office worker, newspaper reporter/photographer/editor, welfare caseworker,  fast-food store manager, oil field hand, etc., etc., ad infinitum. I took up saying I was preparing for a career as a writer or a stand-up comedian.
   Well now I've done it. I completed the first draft of a novel.

   Murder on Ceres  takes place in the future when the center of civilization is located on the many colonies off Mars. Humans continue their exploration and exploitation of the universe. They choose their own evolution. They live longer, healthier lives. Nations and wars of nationalism are things of the past. But, for all their progress, humans are still humans and murder happens.
   My hero, Rafe Sirocco, a newly-minted police detective investigates his first murder. Dedication to his job endangers his marriage, the lives of his young wife and their unborn child, and, in the end, his own life.
   And how does this who-done-it come out? I typed these final words.

"The   End"
   And became a writer.