Today I would like to introduce my husband, George T. Parker, to you. He is also part of our local writing group called The Redding Writer’s Forum. His main role in the group is writing their monthly newsletter, mailing it out, and posting to their website. He has photographed some of their meetings along with others sharing in this responsibility. He also includes writing from other members of the group in the newsletter.
In September he will be their first speaker of the year doing a presentation on writing memoirs. He has been working on putting together his own memoir mostly focusing on the years that he was in the California Conservation Corps. Here is a link to a great fictionalized story he wrote about something that happened in the C’s. http://reddingwritersforum.com
So here are George’s answers to my questions for this post. Enjoy!
- How long have you been a writer and/or artist?
I’ve been a writer pretty much all of my life, as far back as grade school. I wrote a lot of weird adventure stories, and even did some cartooning of stories. (Yes! I could draw back then!) My writing got more sophisticated in high school, with more sarcasm and wit. I also started writing Dungeons & Dragons adventures for my gaming group. I journaled a lot in the California Conservation Corps, and after the Cs, I contributed to my community college’s literary magazine, Bridges. Lately, I’ve been blogging about the CCC and D&D. The main project that I would like to finish and see published before I die is my memoir of life in the CCC.
- What do you like to write about and/or create?
I love memoir. The motto for my CCC blog is ‘Everybody has a story that deserves to be told.’ I believe that, and I love to help people tell their stories.
I love to help people see, hear, and feel the outdoors like I have experienced them.
I also love to make people laugh.
- Who has been the greatest influence in your creativity? (This could be someone you know or someone you admire but have never met.)
I don’t know where to start. Certainly, John Muir comes to mind for any outdoors writing, or even memoir. Edward Abby’s Monkey Wrench Gang is the perfect blend of outdoors and humor.
Louis L’Amour really inspired me to write about places that I know first-hand. That’s what he did, and it showed.
Believe it or not, a primary influence for writing humor was Art Buchwald’s political satire of the 1960s and early ‘70s. I suppose that I should also include Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), Robert Asprin (The Myth-Adventures series), and Monty Python.
You can see more of George’s work at either of his blogs. Here are the links.
Thank you, George, for contributing your story to my series FOCUS ON CREATIVE ENERGY. I enjoyed it as I am sure others will, too!
NOTE: Unless I hear from other “creatives” who want to share their stories, George’s will be the last post in this series. I realize it takes time to answer questions that perhaps you haven’t been asked in a long time, but just remember…it doesn’t have to be long! Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Have a wonderful day and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂
Today, I would like to introduce my friend, Vickie Darnell, whom I met at the Writer’s Forum meetings a few years ago. Her job in the group is “Hospitality Director.” She sets up the food that people bring to share during the meeting’s break. So here is her story. Enjoy!
1) How long have you been a writer/artist?
I have always enjoyed writing! In school, I was always writing notes to fellow classmates and essay questions were opportunities to express myself. My parents inadvertently encouraged me to write by leaving notes for me, telling me to have a good day at school and such. I was told that because I was left-handed, that my handwriting would be terrible. Therefore, I practiced writing, seeking to find an attractive way to write my name, Vickie Coleen Downey. I carefully wrote each letter, over and over again.
As a child, I also enjoyed drawing and painting with watercolors. In fourth grade, unbeknownst to me, my teacher entered one of my paintings in a city wide contest. I was the winner of my elementary school and my painting was displayed at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park! The day I brought my painting home, with a beautiful blue ribbon attached to it, my three year old brother tore it up. I ran, with tears in my eyes, to tell my mother what he had done. I was shocked and dismayed when she gathered up the pieces of my painting, crumpled them up and threw the pieces in the trash can. I never drew again. (*And, my brother has a Bachelor of Arts college degree in graphic arts from Long Beach State…)
2) What do you like to write about/create?
When I first read IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote, I became hooked on crime. HELTER SKELTER by Vincent Bugliosi, and THE ONION FIELD by Joseph Wambaugh further drew me into the crime genre. Becoming a police officer seemed to be a perfect fit for me, since I was (and still am) fascinated by murder. On the flip side, I have also written several children’s stories, and magazine articles about draft horses and rural life, as well.
3) Who has been the greatest influence in your creativity?
As I previously mentioned, authors Truman Capote, Vincent Bugliosi, and Joseph Wambaugh sparked my interest in crime novels. Being a police officer, I wrote several crime reports on a daily basis. After leaving the police force, I became a stay at home mom to my two little boys. Wanting to give them the best childhood possible, I not only read to them all the time, but created stories which included them and their toys, hoping to entertain them and perhaps ignite their own creativity and imagination. In truth, my children inspired me!
Leaving the SF bay area and moving to Humboldt County provided the opportunity to initially have horses, cattle, sheep and chickens. Draft horses eventually replaced the saddle horses, opening up another avenue to write about. I wrote several articles about driving these draft horses, wagons, harness, and the places visited because of the drafts, such as participating in the Great Circus Parade held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1996 to 2000.
I owe my desire to write to everyone I have encountered in my life, which is akin to the Wild Ride of Mr. Toad, at Disneyland. My children gave me a second chance at childhood and continue to amaze me each and every day. My wonderful, supportive husband constantly encourages me to put my thoughts on paper. So, in the middle of the night, I am awake, reading or writing.
Thank you, Vickie, for sharing your writing journey with us. I’m sorry about your painting experience from childhood! I can relate. I appreciate your contribution to my Guest Blogs. This was a great way to get to know you better. I hope we can get together sometime soon!
My next guest blogger will be my husband, George T. Parker on Monday, August 7th. Stay tuned!
Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂
I have not posted in a while because I honestly have not had the energy! My daughter left to go visit a friend in Missouri for Spring Break! I hope she has a wonderful time.
In the meantime, I am doing a lot of reading. I began reading “Animal Farm” which is pretty great. Both of my kids read it for school, and my husband read it years ago. I think it is amazing and insightful already, and I am only 28 pages in!
I also began painting my drawings for my picture book, Larry the Lonely Leatherback Sea Turtle. I am going to try to take pictures of them and put the text with them, then upload it on WordPress and try to make a “book” that can be looked through like it would appear if it was printed on paper.
In the meantime, here are some encouraging words from Jane Yolen. I have yet to check out any of her books from the library, though, because I just learned about her the other day. Enjoy!
Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug! 🙂