Monday, 7 December 2015

Neither wax prolific nor wane unproductive.



Though blessed with an assortment of talents I cannot claim being prolific among them.

My personal written output has been limited when compared to my fellows.  This holds true with the addition of poetry and songwriting to the prose writing spoken of in this comparison.  Even considering technical, essay, and fitness writing my total output pales compared to the majority of writers either amateur or professional I would suggest.

I don't deny splitting the focus of my literary efforts.

My early attempts at a literary career were derailed by an assortment of issues including substance abuse and limited talent.  These were further compounded by the failure of my academic career and an appreciation for the amount of work required overcoming the unfortunate nature of my limitations.  A largely private period of trial and error in the practice of prose writing filled the time between then and now.  In addition to the successes and failures of alternate career paths, artistic endeavors, and the life choices derived thereof.

I make no apology when I admit to having had a wonderful time.

I have always believed we are shaped by circumstance and defined by commitment.  The talent endowed by natural selection provides the building blocks only for what the nurtured character is willing to exploit.

I believe in this sense we are each of us equal.

Among other gifts I was not given in abundance include imagination and humor.  This was balanced by an affinity for travel and an appreciation for the absurd.  When compared it's my contention that the latter pair make better tools for the prospective writer than the former though my evidence is at best considered anecdotal.

I trust the author and will take his word on this subject.

It has also been observed that one is often best served working with the tools found closest to the hand.  To my great relief the exchange of gifts described above in this case would reveal the theatre of the world in great abundance.  The results I can only allow to speak for them self though I will repeat that my times have been filled with moments of great joy.  That a man has also known the pain that living brings at various points in his travels is simple proof that no ride is free.

I would willingly trade the same mistakes were I granted similar results.

With my fiction work for the first time in the hands of a small reading public after spending my lifetime read by a limited few I will admit to nerves aplenty.  The desire for appreciation appears more than less universal among our kind.  I'm certainly no less afflicted by the desire for approval than my fellows despite the vanguard provided by the experience of a career in popular music.  It is a bruising business to be coldly evaluated by a remorseless entity devoid of an appreciation for a unique artistic vision.  The experience can overwhelm to the point of distraction and even the thickest of skins rarely survive critical opinion unmarked.  Those few scars left by reviews of all types are worn best with satisfaction.

I have always considered it a privilege to receive the notice.

The right to earn them good or bad is granted to the most fortunate few.  They are the ones with the commitment harnessed to talent sufficient to produce a finished work of art in literary form.  Only to them go either the raves or the rants.  In whatever style or medium it may be presented only the finished work of art alone, in its successes and its failures, its flaws and its virtues, celebrates and commemorates our presence in the continuum of space and time.

            I claim no authority aside from an abundance of approximate historical and cultural references for the conclusion.

            It is also worth noting by artists working in any medium that those who provide the critique of your finished work, good or bad as described by the review of it, in many cases are not blessed with the ability to create such work themselves.  A man who travels will invariably discover himself in the company of subject matter experts from time to time.  Depending on the motivation for the travels the circumstance may arise routinely.  In my case it has been so and for this many times I have been grateful.  Expertise makes for interesting conversation and keeps the rest of us honest in our approach to the work we do.  In most cases however these experts would trade their knowledge for the satisfaction of creating finished works of their own.

            I have discovered that neither expertise nor talent is a replacement for good work habits.

Prolific or not I'm pleased with the work I've managed to complete.  Good or bad you may trust each example of it was the best I could do at the time.  Despite the recently discovered presence of a number of recurring and egregious typographical errors in the final text of my novel 'A Dog and His Boy' that has been and remains good enough for me.  One can only hope it proves the same for the reading public.

I look forward to publishing work to compare against it.

Thanks for being here and thanks for sharing the blog.


-          TH
December 7, 2015

Monday, 16 November 2015

'A Dog and His Boy' is published.



The long awaited day has arrived.

My novel 'A Dog and His Boy' is now available in Paperback or eBook from Amazon!

Click your choice of link below to get your copy now.

To order a paperback click here: https://www.createspace.com/5865137

To order a kindle eBook click here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017Y5ZYPY

I lived my life loosely modeled after a pattern created by the great novelist Joseph Conrad.

Perhaps this is due to my grasp of English best approximating that of a man approaching it as a second language.

It was Conrad's early adventuring at sea followed by a later life of writing that provided the map for exploring the world of my own time.

Though unlikely it turns out there remain worlds to discover for each of us to this day.

For me without the object lesson provided by the great man's work it's entirely probable that I would not have found my way.  The fact I have, however unlikely, is a large part of what fuels my commitment to document those obscure worlds my various travels have exposed.  The behavior of my fellows through the assorted challenges presented by their uniquely individual life experiences is what I would illuminate by this rumination.  The entertainment of you, the reader, with enlightening stories crafted from those well considered experiences is the long sought after goal.

I most often suppose it is my way of repaying a debt.

The host of alternatives are certainly less impressive.

The extended wait to return to the life of fiction writing in my case was rooted in causes of my own often reckless design.  That it was a return highlights another experience shared by myself and the former mariner.  For it had also been my first adventure to attempt learning to write fiction while still a young and impressionable fellow.  Sadly talent is where our similarities would most apparently diverge.

The disasters that were my early efforts drove me to put down the pen.

At the least it stopped the public display of my early attempts at prose.

My contention is that for this we are all grateful.

The work performed between then and now was primarily utilitarian and soulless in composition if rewarding and simple in creation.  High school training in the rudimentary skills of written communication opened the door to means and kept a roof over my head.  Though not a life of fulfillment a man's creditors appreciate his willingness to remain in the harness.

It's when the plough horse refuses the bit before jumping the fence that things get interesting.

Let me be clear in saying I'm not recommending this as a practice.

The world needs less than it has of people such as this.

I should also mention that I'm in need of no further competition.

Like the best of the old masters the raw material of experience was used as the basis for the stories I've created.  It would be foolish to consider them to be anything other than fiction though the facts of human behavior populate their pages.  The finished product is best not confused with the experience underlying them.  This is another similarity shared with the progenitors of my craft.

Fiction is life as the author best understands it, neither as it was nor as it may have been intended.

While history is most often created by its' winners fiction is usually written by those less concerned with results.

The world needs more of that than it has.

So it is that I contribute 'A Dog and His Boy' in the tradition of those who I would gratefully follow.  That my words may light the dark surrounding unknown cousins in search of the means by which to persevere is my purpose.  For no less than this did I receive from the wisdom discovered in the many styles of fictional prose I have been so fortunate to discover.

It was a gift a man is grateful to have received and honored to try repay.  The passing of a similar torch in the guise of a novel to those who might choose to follow is the means by which I would accomplish the task.

I hope you enjoy 'A Dog and His Boy'.

It took so long to finish I feared most days it would not see the page.  I should also say that many of the things I know worth sharing are written there.  That and we can learn much from our history beyond not wishing it to repeat.

Though a first novel it will certainly not be my last as even now I near completion of what will be the second.  Keep an eye on this blog for availability information.  Having considered these stories a long while I'm pleased to share them and prepared, finally, to devote the time needed to do so.

'A Dog and His Boy' is a good place to begin.

I hope you enjoy it and look forward to reading your reviews online at Goodreads and Amazon or anywhere else you should choose to share your appreciation of the novel.

Thanks for being here and thanks for sharing the news!

-          TFP
November 15, 2015

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Here's to another late start.



I burned three of my own manuscripts.  It was the sensible thing to do at the time and I have few regrets.  The fact I've written three more since is what I find conclusive.  That brings us to the point of this discourse and the raison d'etre for the new blog.

I'm publishing my first novel.

'A dog and his boy' will be available in paperback and e-book formats within weeks of writing this blog entry.

I'll post a few of the procedural details here and will also use the site to let you know when and where it's available.  The publisher is Amazon and though embracing the new reality of the literary world I have no idea what it means for me or my work.  This willingness to cozy up to the modern is tempered by a vast indifference to the ever advancing influence of social media.

I've been told by more than one person I'm past due having something published and there's little room to argue.  Somehow I've grown old though I scarcely noticed it happening.  While the fruitless trek in search of wisdom and perspective continues there's no reason not to share stories considered thoroughly and written well.

There's also no denying I've been softened by time.  Not only are the hard edges of my body but the sharp corners of my ideology now smoothed by the sandpaper of experience.  My youthful certainty has been displaced by a certain doubt as my six pack devolved into a middle aged beer keg.

I think of this loss and what's gained as the bargain exchanged for the time each of us may sojourn in our individual place and time.  An existentialist I hold little concern for the concept of fairness when evaluating such an arrangement.  In fact, I consider the idea immaterial in the face of temporal reality.

Only knowing me when could show the irony of those statements.

I'm fortunate that few are left who did and those that are mostly friends.

I wrote this novel for people who enjoy discovering the secret heart of those seemingly trapped by unique and individual circumstance.  No devotee of the fashion my prose is rooted in the traditions of literary fiction.  The writer must serve his story and the currency of the facts surpasses those of the realm in such an instance.

My understanding of it is simple.

It's art for arts' sake.

I've been true to that ideal with 'A dog and his boy' and I'm delighted to share it with you.

I'll post the date when you can get your copy in paperback or e-book soon!

Thanks for being here and thanks very much for your support.

-          TFP, October 20, 2015