Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Imagine the Worst: No Hope for Your Dreams

Life is unfair. There can be no doubt about that. There was an interesting piece in the morning paper about life in Pakistan. Imagine a young boy who dreams of going to school and being free to become someone with a good job and a secure future. Try to walk in his steps (because he wears no shoes) and imagine what it would feel like to spend your day kneading lumps of wet clay and slapping them into brick molds. You do this all day long until your your shoulders and back ache. You must do this because of the debt your parents have incurred trying to stay alive. The pay is meager and you will never be able to pay off the debt and so, like your parents, you will be chained to this miserable job and bleak life until you can no longer make bricks. There is no hope of being free of debt.

Seventy percent of bonded laborers in Pakistan are children. Bonded labor is against the law but enforcement is nearly nonexistent because of the clout of wealthy landlords and kiln owners. Bribery protects the interest of the wealthy and takes advantage of the poor. There is little or no education made available to these children. No one seems to care. The poor have no means of protesting. They have no vote because they have no birth certificate or no national ID. They are lost in the shuffle. Invisible.

If you can imagine yourself living this life, you will be numb with the dullness and deprivation of your days, but drunk on dreaming to keep your soul alive. The soul is a delicate flame in the wind when it is without shelter. How will you survive? How will you escape? Who will hear your prayer as you squat, dig your toes into the earth, and fill your brick mold with wet clay?


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