Sunday, September 12, 2010


About nine years ago, I started writing creatively on a weird little website. It's kind of a cesspool of oddity at this point, having gone the way of so many open-source websites, but it's given me some of the best friends I've ever had. This isn't just hyperbole...we're talking about people who wound up being bridesmaids and groomsmen at my wedding, to say nothing of those who attended as guests. These are also the folks who gave me confidence in my writing ability.

When I write for fun, I usually take a moment or image that feels particularly beautiful to me and try to relay what’s beautiful about it to the reader. I think I’m pretty good at this, as I’ve received good response from people about most of what I’ve put out there for public consumption, but you never really know if the reader’s mind is creating the exact portrait you want. This is kind of the tao of art in a lot of ways…the magic of art is its ability to affect people differently, which is why I am never going to like Kandinsky and why people fight over what Andy Warhol was going for. The great gift of art isn’t just bringing beauty into the world but the discussion that it can inspire.

I also think about whether people are actually seeing the same things I do. I might see one color and identify it as blue, and you would agree that it is blue, but we don’t know if we’re actually seeing the same image. You might actually see something that I would call orange. Living in a verbal society, we have to decide what to call things, so of course we have both learned that that particular image is “blue,” but what we’re actually looking at may differ. I think there’s a similar question in play with writing. I can describe something with the most perfect phrases, but reception all depends on your way of thinking. Just look at differences in language use – if I use a certain kind of idiom or a specific word that you wouldn’t select, a whole different feeling can develop.

This is all a long way of telling you that I recently had a story illustrated for the first time. My friend Rose asked me this summer if I would be interested in starting up a small press with her and our mutual friend Bill. I told her I’d be willing to give it a whirl, and we founded Pink Narcissus Press. When we established the website, though, we thought we should have some kind of content on the page so people had a reason to go to it with some frequency. We decided to write a story together about a town called Silence, and I wrote a piece called Ars Moriendi. Rose sent our stories to an illustrator, and when the sketches came back, I was instantly in love. Eva, my main character, looked EXACTLY the way she looked in my head as I was writing her. It was incredibly rewarding to see a solid measure of my authorial success. Eva had come across on paper precisely as I wanted her to.
That's an exciting thing, but what's REALLY exciting is our call for submissions! We have two anthologies in the works, and you should totally write something for them. Head on over to our Submissions page to get the low-down.

1 comment:

  1. ... You are seriously amazing. Also, and I am -not- kidding here, my word verification for this is 'reeree.'