Saturday, July 25, 2009

R.I.P. E.L.H.

I am truly saddend by the death of author E. Lynn Harris. Read/listen to the NPR report here. I only read one book, but that's all that I needed to feel inspired. He was an openly gay black man who wrote novels about gay black characters that made the New York Times Bestsellers list. I was an aspiring novelist hoping to write about gay Asian characters. I thought, If Mr. Harris can do it, I can do it to.

We were different writers. I wanted to write deep, thoughtful work exploring the human condition, while Mr. Harris wrote fun, dashy, soap operetic novels that could be digested in one sitting. Regardless, we relied on the same medium to tell stories.

What made me respect him even more was his gumption. This was a man who couldn't get his first novel published. So, he self-published it and sold copies ouf of the back of his trunk. Amazing.

I regret not meeting him. However, I firmly believe that one leaves this earth when all the work one needed to do is done. Mr. Harris, thank you for your work. You did a great job!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Back it goes!

I'd been working on a short story. It began with the protagonist hearing about his father's death and returning to the Philippines to deal with it. Then I changed it. It began with the father calling his son home to meet before he dies. Now, I'm changing back to the original. So, it goes. This process has taken months.

Of course, I kick myself, thinking: why didn't I just keep the way it was. I wonder: I just wasted two months on something. Or I beat myself up: why didn't you think of a better solutions a long time ago.

Well, this is just the writing life and what I go through. Revisions, revisions.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just thinkin'

Something I'd been thinking about is why I write? What keeps me writing? The only thing that keeps coming up is the concept that I have a Voice. Voice is interesting to talk about. It's that special something that distinguishes one artist from another. It's a point of view that only I have.

It's mine. I see the world in a particular way. I think it my Voice that has gotten me published thus far. It's what has gotten me any kind of attention. I'm grateful for it and want to cultivate it more. Unfortunately, it doesn't yield a lot of money. I do have those debates of Voice versus Commerce. I used to date someone who said that if I want commercial success, I need to write something for the masses. We're no longer dating.

It's something I wonder about as I get older. Then, I remember why I started writing. I promised myself that I would not be a whore if I ever got published. You see, I was this actor that seemed to cave when it came to making money. Can you please audition for a demeaning stereotype to get work? Sure. I felt like such a cheap whore.

When I wrote, I swore to keep it pure. I'm still trying to hold onto that. At times, my grip seems to be slipping. Well, grip tighter, I guess.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Literary Grad

My much younger cousin, Norbert, recently graduated from High School. It sparked my personal memories of my graduation back in 1986. Time doesn't just fly, it does aerials. See my piece here.