Writing is an art form. Really! I found that out when I began seriously pursuing it four years ago. Now three novels and a nonfiction book (written with my wife) later, I am ready to make this proclamation: WRITING IS AN ART FORM!
Think about it. Writing requires talent, interest, commitment, training, and TIME!!! An idea thrashes around in your brain, all the time, no matter what you’re doing. You dream about it, wake up with it hammering verbiage at you. It’s relentless until you express it physically, digitally, so that it comes alive for others.
Take my Dinkel Island Series. People ask, “Where is this place?”
At one level it’s in my spirit–in my mind–in my daily life. People ask me if it’s a real place. Yes! It’s real within me, and once I share it in print, it can become real to you.’
“Okay, but is it based on a real-life location? Real life people?”
“Yes, but maybe not in the way you’re thinking. It’s based on a lot of places where I have lived, or exhibited paintings, or fished, or preached, or otherwise shared life with friends, relatives and others.”
In my novels I paint stories. I invent names like Dinkel Island, Potomac City, Nor’easter County, Regal Palace Suites, Lighthouse Point, Crabber’s Creek, Tranquility Bay. I cook them up to embody the flavor of people and places that mean a lot to me. Ed Heygood is a pastor whose life I share from his early ministry through his retirement and beyond. Stan Grayson embodies the visual artist alter ego within me. Mary Grace Love is the abused young woman whose life is shattered, then rebuilt through the faith of strangers who give her a future.
Doc Patcher and the Old Geezers gather at the drugstore for coffee…and speculation about everything. Sarah Jones makes sure the town’s grapevine doesn’t wither and die. Joe Truvine keeps The Island Sentinel supplied with news stories. Fanny surprises everyone with her homespun intelligence, sensitivity, wisdom and energy. James Brown finds his way out of racial stereotyping into wholeness and equality that challenges the status-quo.
These are people I know. They live within me. They talk to me. They tell me their stories. There are many more of them: Lillie Plume, Brandon Peppersmith, CJ Crumbold, Ben Wartman, Lucy Mac, Palmer Swift, Rex Bloomquest, Ryan Mulligan, Pastor Kate Sheppard, and Polly Allmond in her peppermint-striped ice cream shop. They are people of various sorts…sometimes virtuous…sometimes deceptive…sometimes holy…sometimes struggling…sometimes lost…sometimes dangerous…sometimes penitent. They are sprinkled around Dinkel Island and its happenings at different times and places, sometimes transcending the boundaries between books in the series.
My words paint portraits of these people, and landscapes of their surroundings. My brush strokes are key taps on my computer. My paints are the vibrant shades of Dinkel Islander’s lives and experiences layered onto my keypad canvas. To me, writing and painting are two expressions of my artistic spirit that complement each other. Once I even switched venues to paint an image of the retreat center the Grayson’s want to build at Lighthouse Point. They call it God’s Lampstand. Will this be my last visual image to complement word images? Who knows?
I have painted stories I believe you’ll enjoy. I invite you to my Dinkel Island gallery. You can travel there by paperback or e-book transport. Tickets are available through Tate Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Cokesbury.com, Book People, Buford Road Pharmacy, Westbury Pharmacy, Walmart, Target…and even from the trunk of my car!