One Hell of a Meme

mike-tree1.jpg

I got this meme from Al over at http://bluetide.typepad.com/  I’ve been reading his blog for quite some time, he’s quite the writer, and I’ve been drawn to his blog for a while now, I rarely do meme’s but for him, you know, well here it is. I guess you would say I’ve been tagged.  I thought it was a good meme because it makes you sit down and think about your writing style maybe a little more.

Here it is, The Writing MeMe….

Where are you from?

I was born a breach baby in Atlanta, Georgia, as my mom said I was born asshole first and I’ve been one ever since.   She was kidding of course,  I’m the sweet one.    Grew up in a small town, maybe I should call it a village in South Georgia.  Great grandson, grandson, and son of farmers of that little village.   So Green Acres is the place for me.   I grew up on a farm,so know about farmlife.   Was part of a group of 8 kids from 4th grade until 7th grade, a study group.   TA for kids.   It changed my life in many ways, opened doors that may not have been opened for me otherwise.   But my entire life up to 18, I lived in that little village, with one red light in South Georgia living mostly in a fantasy world of my head.

Tell us your latest news.

Wow I’m feeling boring, nothing terriblly interesting in the works, Mike and I started our photography business on the side a few months ago, going good, we’re about to shoot yet another wedding.   I may be going home next weekend for a “Family Reunion” , to see family I havn’t seen in ages.   I wish I had more exciting news but truly no big news happening right now other than life. So what does this tell me?   I need to start planning.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing in journals since I was 12. My mom gave me a journal when I was in the 6th grade on my birthday. The card said “Write down your feelings, it’s important to express your feelings somehow and let them be known.” I’ve been doing that ever since. I have to date about 15 journals.  I really felt I needed to express myself. I’ve written all these years to leave something of myself. I’m also writing this to learn about myself so I can help in trying to understand others.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

It’s always been mostly for me, most of my entire life, until the last few years when I found out about blogging.  At first it was just for me even then.  But then it became something more.   I still don’t think of myself as a writer, maybe not my idea of a writer, although I write, and enjoy it very much.   I have written a chapter of a book, that maybe one day I will finish, I have ideas for them all the time, it’s just the act of finishing one that is the problem.  I considered myself a storyteller at a very young age.  I still remember first grade, before I could actually write full sentences.   Our task, write a sentence and share it with the class.   I really don’t remember what my sentence was but that one sentence turned into a story of a city in the clouds.   Thank goodness I had a sweet first grade teacher, it was funny, if the class got unruly, she’d say Derek stand up in front of the class and tell the class a story.   Everyone got quiet.   When I was older I asked a few kids in my class did they remember this, thinking it was some sort of weird memory of mine.   I thought I wonder if this was punishment for the class.   But all the kids remembered, and they were like no, you told us cool stories.   We always loved your stories, I think that’s why she would get you to tell them, she knew we’d all be quiet.  

What inspired you to pen your first novel?

I havn’t finished my first novel, only started it.   But it was inspired by my upbringing, small town southern baptist, and my mixture of psychology, which was my major in college.   So let’s just say I was inspired by Jesus.   It’s not a story about Jesus, but a doctor who is having dreams that he is Jesus.   My first chapter was a mixture of research of the bible, and of todays, and a little mixture of the two.   The doctor is a healer, I’m just not sure where or what journey I’m taking him on though.   So a doctor with a Jesus complex.   There may have been other inspirations along the way, you’ll just have to see if I ever finish it.

Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?

I’ve looked back in happiness at all I’ve been through and all my experiences. I’m recounting my experiences to break some stereotypes.   So I guess I would say life has influenced my writing the most.  There was a teacher in highschool, that I wouldn’t say influenced me, I never read anything she wrote, but she definitely made me want too write, she believed in me, and that was something I so strongly needed in my life, was just for someone to believe in me in anything I do.   But it all come down to me believing in myself.  

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?

Much of my writing is taken from my own life, my own imagination, and things I thought and believed as a child.  In ways I would say it’s part of the reason I never seem to finish, but I won’t blame it on my childhood, it’s still me now.   I always seem to start things, and have a problem finishing, except maybe blog entries.  My mother enjoyed the fact that I was artistic or different.   She seems to value it now and is always telling me to write a book.   She always was the one too urge me to share my gift, but on the other side was my father, whom I felt was always shoving me in another direction, who didn’t like I was different.   Who told me I was never good enough, who made me feel I wasn’t.   That writers and artists were all sissies, and he didn’t want a sissy for a son.  I don’t know if I explained this question, but maybe I painted you a picture. 

Do you have a specific writing style?

My favortie has always been creative writing.   I lived in a creative imagination from a very young age.   I took many creative writing courses over the years and in college.   I write with imagination and I write mabye a bit exagerrated.   It’s my life but I tend to add a little color at times to try and make it more interesting. There’s usually a lesson to learn in my writing style, only because I feel I’m always learning new ones every day in life.

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

Poetry, creative writing, and memoir are my three that I’m most comfortable with.   I also tend to write many time, like I didn in high school, as screenplays or one act plays, which I wrote in high school.   Never wrote  a book, but I have finsihsed many short stories, and plays.  O think I’m still learning my style.

How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

The book is titled “The Messiah Man”  I think I explained what it symbolized in one of my other questions.   It’s about a common man, well a doctor, who has the gift for healing, he’s a doctor, but finds he can heal in other ways than modern medicine.

There a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?.

As I wrote earlier I want a lesson to be learned.   I want my reader to think outside of the box.   For so many years of my life, I lived not questioning, but just taking things at face value.   I think when I finally started asking the questions that were there all the time.   That’s when things began to change.

How much of your novels are realistic? Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your life?

Everything pretty much is based on my life in some way or form.   It may not be things that happened to me but I try and make it real, even if some things are far off in fantasy, I try to bring the two together, fantasy and realism.  Much is base on my life experiences and people that I know and events in my life, but sometimes I create out of just pure imagination, and that is almost as fun, but I always seem to combine the two together.

What books have most influenced your life?

The first book I remember reading was by Scott O’Dell, it was “Island of the Blue Dolphin” I loved reading about survival books when I was young, strange for such a young boy but they fascinated me.   I also read a lot of biographies of different famous people, like presidents, and loved reading about their younger years.  As a teenager I lived at our library, after school I would go to the library, and my mom would pick me up a few hours later after she would get off work.   “The Hobbit: and “Lord of the Rings”, by J.R.R. Tolkien opened my mind to fantasy and science fiction, it stayed there for a long time.   I think I read every Andrea Norton book there was.   “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis brought me more into my imagination.   The Bible, how could I forget that gave me my faith.  It also made me question things, because my dad took everything so literally, and I questioned it to maybe mean something else.   I remember asking him why does it have to be the way that he thinks it means, and rather than what it means to the person reading it.   That was the day my dad got quiet with me, once we were able to think for ourselves, he would distance himself from us.  There’s so many, hard to choose.   As a coming out gay man, Armistead Maupin was big on my reading list, I had found someone who really got me, I was far from SanFrancisco, but this man really got me.   I loved thinking of myself there, and used to fantacize about running away and becoming a writer.  But scared I’d probably end up a pornstar instead.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

This is the hardest question, I guess it would be my mom.   Although she probably doesnt’ think of herself as a writer, I know she writes as well, I know she has always wanted me to live her dream in a way.    She’s very private, and I have only seen some of her writings, but I know she writes well, not like me, we have a very different way that we write, our styles are completely different.   But she was the first person to tell me to write down my feelings and express myself through writing.  Sometimes I feel I’m better at doing that than I am communicating out loud.  Also Zig Ziglar, because I grew up on his priciples when I entered the fourth grade, and read much of his inspiration for many years since he influenced my life so much.

How does your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?

Mom loves it, I’ve written many short stories, but never finished the book that she so wants me to write.   She keeps telling me I could be famous and take care of her, and buy her a new house.   She’s so funny.   Many of my friends don’t even know I keep a blog or write at all.  When you meet me, people think I’m very quiet, probably because I am.   But once someone gets to know me, they find there is much more to me than what they thought.   It takes a while for me to open up.   My dad doesn’t know very much of my life.   He knows what I let him know.   I think he chooses to know what he wants to know, we are both kind of stubborn that way.  Honestly I don’t wite like I used too, for me writing is something I do best when I am alone, or when I’m lonely.   I havn’t really been lonely in a long time.   I do write in my blogs, but my stories and prose have been few and far between the last three years.

Do you see writing as a long- or short-term career?

I wish it was a career, it’s something I do for fun, my writings have made it into literary magazines while I was in college, and picked out of contest, but I havn’t entered anything in a very long time.   The first one that ever got picked was actually when I was in high school, it was very short

Cemetery

But we are not forgotten,

Tabernacles of the soul-

Parking meters of the flesh

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything? 

I’ve always said I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and I wouldn’t change anything, but I just woke up and I’m thinking, well maybe, I would have stopped some things that may have caused harm, I would have definitely cherished some moments a lot more, not sure if I would have changed them, but I sure would have paid more attention to some of them.

So I’ve done it, I’ve finished a meme.   I added this picture.   Mike actually did it last night combining two photograph’s.   He’s getting creative, and I like it.   He loves trees.   He’s finding new ways to express himself and I’m enjoying that.

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~ by deveil on JulyUTCb000000amSat, 21 Jul 2007 07:28:08 +000007 19, 2007.

6 Responses to “One Hell of a Meme”

  1. Well let me be the first to congratulate you on finishing your first meme. Quite the hellish one to start with though!

    I loved your answers and appreciate you tackling this. As well, your poem that you did in high school is atypically sparse for a teenagers work. If I was your teacher, I would have been gushing!

    In regards to Maupin, i completely agree. In the early nineties I started “Tales” and about two months later put down “Sure Of You” the last in the series. Like most people who love his books, I can’t put it accurately into words and be able to do justice, if I intend to show just how deeply I connected with his characters, descriptions, and deeper motivations behind his stories and plot twists. Which were many times so expertly written that the aggressive political messages just flowed right on through the story. That’s talent!

    Great job with this Derek. Thanks.

  2. Wow – even thought I thought that I knew you, I learned so much from this – thanks for opening up and sharing the real you with all of us!

  3. that was swallow, but a good read indeed!

  4. Very interesting. I learned many things which I didn’t know about you. And that’s a cool photo!

  5. WOW…you weren’t kidding when you called it one hell of a meme! That almost would be considered a novella in its own right. 😉 Very nice insight, though. Thanks for posting it.

  6. Wonderful! Thanks for sharing all that with us Derek… you gave not just one of those one-liner answers either! 🙂 I especially love the fact that you were such a great storyteller in class, I think that was really something… And your city in the clouds!! Also that you consider your mom your biggest mentor in writing, I love that!!! Job well done on your first meme!

    You and Mike have a great n’ relaxing weekend! Also, the image of the trees super-imposed on your back reminds me of a pair of wings.

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