#My Writ­ing Process Blog Tour

I’ve been tagged by the fan­tas­tic writer Tama­ra Linse to talk about #MyWrit­ing­Process, such as it is. I hope these answers will enter­tain or reveal, depend­ing on what you think of my writing.

What am I work­ing on?

reckoningThis is always a tricky ques­tion, as I’m involved in sev­er­al dif­fer­ent projects at a time. Right now I’m near­ly ready to shop a man­u­script of poems called Dear So and So, in which I address poems anony­mous­ly to a num­ber of peo­ple who may or may not be in a posi­tion to answer, or will­ing to talk with me at all, con­sid­er­ing our var­i­ous his­to­ries. It’s a series of off-son­nets and oth­er near poems, like in-jokes from my life, which oth­ers might have fun read­ing. I’m also research­ing a short book on the video game Red­neck Ram­page, which game near­ly con­sumed my soul in the 1990s just as I was order­ing my life and goals and writ­ing in light of the fact that I was Appalachi­an, 41.7% more like­ly to die of a heart attack than my peers, and des­tined to have a love/hate rela­tion­ship with the area in which I grew up. Beyond that, I have anoth­er name­less man­u­script of poems which should straight­en up and behave itself soon or I’m going to whip its ass, and a nov­el called The Arson­ist, again set in my home­town and sur­rounds, in which a state social work­er, Kath­leen Brake, gets increas­ing­ly drawn into the psy­choses of a crazy but charis­mat­ic teenage arson­ist named John­ny Jones while nego­ti­at­ing the ter­rors of ado­les­cent rela­tion­ships with her fif­teen-year-old daugh­ter Ang­ie and her own love life with her well-mean­ing but feck­less hus­band Gal­low. And her short-term lover Brady Bragg. All have secrets, all have needs, and when the flames rise, every­one will be affected.

How does my work dif­fer from oth­ers of its genre?

iamnotarielI write in a mode many oth­ers do, but I believe my work stands out because of its focus on rur­al mat­ters, near­ly exclu­sive­ly, and because I try to use as few words as pos­si­ble to make the sto­ry I want to make up. I also believe my sto­ries are emo­tion­al­ly true where oth­ers often seem fake. Prob­a­bly the fak­ers feel the same way about me and my work. The dif­fer­ence is that I’m right where they’re wrong. 🙂

Why do I write what I do?

rustyI have lit­tle else to do out­side oblig­a­tions to my imme­di­ate fam­i­ly. I have no impor­tant skills I can rely on, no rich fam­i­ly to sup­port me in my efforts to pro­duce art, no great intel­lect to make it eas­i­er on me, but I do have a his­to­ry 250 years deep in a small area of Penn­syl­va­nia that so far has yield­ed mate­r­i­al enough for at least three writ­ing careers, and I trust, will con­tin­ue to pro­vide such long after I’m gone.

How does my writ­ing process work?

When I’m writ­ing on a longer project, I try to get five hun­dred words a day. Fail­ing that, if I get 250 I’ll hang it up for the ses­sion. Rare is the day I don’t get my 500, though. I begin writ­ing for my hour per day after the kids go to bed, more time being devot­ed to it when life per­mits. Poems I can work on any time. Fic­tion takes a con­cert­ed effort and sched­ule. I go long stretch­es with­out writ­ing, though, which is dan­ger­ous. I always feel as if I don’t write all the time, I’ll for­get how. Luck­i­ly, that hasn’t proven to be true yet.

The Cool Peo­ple I’m Tagging

Heather Sul­li­van http://​lady​janead​ven​tures​.blogspot​.com/

Cort Bled­soe http://​clbled​soe​.blogspot​.com/

Tim­o­thy Gager http://​tim​o​th​y​gager​.blogspot​.com/

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