Writing is hard. I hear that all the time from the students I tutor. It is. But it is also such a beautiful way to unravel this crazy world, the only way I know to part the veil and see what truly matters, what truly Is. Though the publishing world can be daunting and discouraging at times, I can’t imagine giving up. I know my words matter, and I believe 2023 will see my short story cycle, “Search Party,” set on the eastern shore of Maryland, and my novella-in-flash, “Unpasteurized,” based on my times growing up on my grandparents’ dairy farm in Pennsylvania, in print. I look forward to sharing my years of labor and insights with the world. But, in truth, I write for myself. I write to live.
Over the past three + years, I’ve come to realize that we have a responsibility as artists to try to create work that can make a positive difference in this world. It is true that writing can be therapeutic, and when I first started out on this path I did write to figure things out, mostly myself. But now I ask myself: Does this work matter? There’s more of an urgency to my writing, more depth, and I see that in much of the writing that comes my way as fiction editor for Little Patuxent Review. South Korean writer and director Bong Joon Ho quoted Martin Scorsese during this year’s Academy Awards: “The most personal is the most creative.” And the most personal is the most political, which is so obvious in his brilliant award winning film Parasite. This year I plan to complete my short story cycle set on the eastern shore of Maryland and hope to publish it; it is my dream that it will shed some light where there is darkness.
I can’t believe it’s been nearly five years since I last blogged. . . I promise to do better in the coming year, as soon I will have my short story cycle set on the eastern shore of MD complete, and I will be pounding the proverbial pavement again in search of a publisher. The tentative title of my cycle is Search Party. I believe it speaks to all of humanity in our quest for meaning in a world that is constantly bombarding us with shallow and trivial matters. What is it that makes your heart swell? Makes you stop in your tracks and take in the moment? For me, it is always a return to nature, the light on the water, the snow on the pines, the two hands of a raccoon feeding himself daintily, with decorum. This holiday season let’s shut out the commercials, the chaos, the endless shopping and take moments to breathe, to re-connect with our center and see what truly matters.