Fiction Writing, Research, and Lighthouses

Working on lighthouse research for my graduate fiction thesis work has led me directly to the Sable Points Light Keepers Association in Ludington, Michigan (www.splka.org). I am now officially a light keeper at Little Sable Point Light and will be serving in June and September. What a rich history! Somebody give me a uniform and cap for the glory; the risk and pleasure is all mine. ~Ignatius

Creative Writing, the MFA, and Northwestern University

Circular logo mark of Northwestern UniversityThere is excitement in the air. I am now an MFA Creative Writing candidate at Northwestern University's School of Continuing Studies. Early this summer, a thought planted itself in my head, prompting me to think about graduate school and how that could help change things around here; the thought soon became a dogged notion, unflinching in its persistence, and I could not get it out of my mind, because I knew how difficult the journey would be financially if I got accepted. I am not without reason or common sense, although historically I should be cemented in craving and impulsiveness, just as my father and mother also behaved with the dexterity of pundits. I am grateful. And yet I could not let go. I could not erase the many prompts that drilled themselves deeper and deeper into my conscience like an augur. And so I began the process. I asked my undergrad professors for recommendations and help. One ignored my request altogether (What had I done? Furthermore, had I said something awkward in a text, email, or social networking context?). But that doesn't matter now; it's in the past. I moved on and started writing then editing, and writing then editing some more, until I could check off each requirement one by one until I was done. Application submitted, and then came the long wait. I stayed busy, a good solution. The summer brought anticipation and loads of quiet nervousness, that I might fall under the axe and roll toward an inconceivable darkness filled with doubt and the prolongation of seeming emptiness that threatened at the edges, always from the edges like a wildfire or hungered prairie dog. All along I trusted my words and did not digress from their power to influence and move the soul, because this is all I had besides my trust in the mysterious and benign workings of the universe. And so I am here, a new path, a new life, a renewed journey that had hit an oily immigrant's patch for decades. This is all I have to add: <write-or-perish!> ~Ignatius

Yahoos, and why a writer needs them (thoughts about “Comb”)

The responses to my prose poem Comb have been truly remarkable and moving (read the poem at http://www.dailylove.net/2012/04/41512.html). I received a flurry of compliments from friends on Facebook, from subscribers to Daily Love, and from my fellow members in the Internet Writing Workshop (IWW), most of whom far exceed my capability and proficiency as a published author, I'll admit. I have so much to learn from all of them, including the matter of yahoos and why yahoos are essential to any writer. Comb made its debut on April 15, 2012 on Daily Love, a fact I considered exceptionally beneficial to me as an author, because I had not seen my words in print or online for a while. In fact, I began to think that I might never get published, although I managed a diligent and prolific discipline of writing every day, performing full rewrites and tight edits of two finished novels mostly (I'm still working on them); as well, I started writing short stories, which I tried to glean from these two novels (a task more difficult than I imagined). The essential problem with my writing—and doing nothing else but that—is the pure and ecstatic isolation that kept me from showing my face to the world, of making my work more visible to others, simply because I could not put out words I thought incomplete or worthy enough to release. Perhaps, this sense is not exclusive to me, I'm sure; every writer will have these feelings to some degree. But Comb emerged with a single thought and with effulgence, and I imagined its form and function as a prose poem about love and death from the moment I began keystroking the first words; and once I started, I paid close attention to the purpose and relevance of each word, which drew me deeper and deeper into a place of ethereal grace, until I finished the poem without interruption and with complete and total introspection, returning once more to the brittleness of the day only after I felt satisfied with what I had written. Following that, my edits helped to make the work crisper and more meaningful, a slow and careful process at best. I did not know how my prose poem would be received by the editor, E.S. Wynn, at Daily Love, just as any writer will never know how a work is going to be received and perceived by the editor(s) of a publication once a work has been submitted. So the response came almost immediately and, with that, my yahoo and gratitude to E.S. Wynn for recognizing the value in Comb and for giving it a venue on Daily Love's home page on April 15. The love keeps pouring, and may it be so for you as well. ~Ignatius