This week we are revisiting this guest post by Douglas Cole, whose short story “Villagers” appeared in Issue 12 of Typehouse. originally published on May 31, 2019 here.
As a Typehouse contributor, I am proud to announce that Touchpoint Books is publishing my novel, The White Field, a fast-paced journey of a man, Tom, just out of prison and trying desperately to rebuild his life. I want to thank the editors at Typehouse for their support. Their publication is a significant part of this novel’s journey.
I just love the whole process of it. Beginning in emptiness. Wanting nothing. Recording brief flashes in the head, mixing that with some thing in my vicinity, flowing back and forth, slowing down, catching the wave of a memory or something completely imagined or dreamed that arrives like a movie projected into the mind.
Then I let it go. It is what it is. A moment. A snapshot of a moment. The Kaliope fluttering inwit carnival of thought.
And then slow down, go back and read it and in reading it see it again and ask myself, do I want to pursue this? Is there something here I want to work on? Do I have enough pieces? And if so, crawl back inside with new eyes and so add my upper thinking structures, reader-need, what might be called craft (say in fiction, think of plot, dialogue, description, that sort of thing filling out, but mostly stay organic and intuitive).
Some poems are a journey, and a record of a journey, like a scar, and can’t be altered. They may or may not be for others. They may be just for me.
And then, tinkering, as with a mechanical puzzle of word and language structures (especially with poetry, but certainly prose too) and sometimes pushing it as far as it can go to see what it opens, like a dart thrown into the black mystery of the void beyond seeing and hearing and remembering—and trying to connect back to the trance that brought it in the first place, honoring that and then ruthlessly changing it, cutting, reworking and adding to get to what I know, simply know, is right.
And not giving up. Unless I’m supposed to give up and start again.I suppose it resembles a kind of rebirth loaded with karmic weight and weight of self that I have to get around. But that’s all less than, just application—because the whole enterprise is bigger than that. Writing is hooking into the great creative dynamo. It’s freedom and transformation, practice for dying and what comes after. Maybe.
All I know is that it has been my golden thread, and without it, the world would have snuffed me out long ago.
Douglas Cole writes, teaches and lives in Seattle, Washington. He has published six poetry collections, as well as a novella. His work has been anthologized in Best New Writing (Hopewell Publications), Bully Anthology (Kentucky Stories Press) and Coming Off The Line (Main Street Rag Publishing). His home is https://douglastcole.com/, and his new novel can be found at Amazon https://www.amazon.com/White-Field-Douglas-Cole/dp/1952816076/ and https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-white-field-douglas-cole/1137349249