Friday, December 2, 2011

Hotel Stationary: Reflections On My Writing Life

Burning in Paradise by Michael Madsen. A book of poems by yes, the very same Michael Madsen the actor. The Robert Mitchum of our generation. Burning in Paradise is a book of poetry, probably out of print.  Michael also has a collected poems on sale at But, if you can find a copy of the previously mentioned book, it will be well worth your money.

Madsen's poetry is amazing. Essentially, the poems are just rough journal entries about drinking, brawling, domestic disputes, lonely nights in Vegas or other destinations on the road, and some internal dialogue. If you want to compare it to somebody, Bukowski flashes to mind in big neon letters. Honestly, I like Madsen's even better. It is more contemporary.

I mention this book because it inspired my own poetry. My first chapbook Hotel Stationery, is definately stamped with his mark.

What differentiated mine from his, was my competing influence of Edward Hopper.

 For example, one of my poems in that book was a word image of a lady staring out of a motel window at passing cars on the interstate. My intent was to make the reader wonder who this woman is. Does she have family? Is she on the run? What's her story? Like in all good poems, I tried to leave a few informational clues, but you are never sure as a poet whether people get your meaning.

I could say the most interesting aspect of my poetry in that period was that it had a vicarious quality. I was 30-31 at the time, but I really hadn't had a whole lot of the "life experiences" that all good writers should have: I hadn't traveled, and I hadn't been married. So, again, I was reporting on others and their lives and it really showed in my work.

Today, I believe I am a steadier hand at the helm. Marriage, travel, and overcoming tribulation has opened the vault of inspiration. I also feel I can express myself with ease. I have alot easier  a time  including symbols and metaphor to back up my writing.

What also has changed is the type of writing I do. When I was younger, I wrote poetry and screenplays. Today, it is soley fiction-- more specifically crime fiction.

I guess one day early into 40,  I decided it was time to reinvent myself( I believe every writer should do that from time to time). Well, so far that has turned out to be wisdom from God, because since then I have had some publishing success and get to work with some fantastic editors. So, in closing, I am right where I want to be as a writer.

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