For my second blog of August, I welcome a guest. He will introduce himself below.
Salutations. My name is Ambrose Bierce, and I am here to announce the publication of a new book. But how am I here? History records that I died over one hundred years ago.
Set aside your disbelief. The answer to how I can write this now will be revealed in my book, A New Haunt for Mr. Bierce. It will be released in January 2022.
The book is about a portion of my stay here in the afterlife. I was displaced from my previous residence and went in search of a new house in which to reside, or haunt, if you prefer. In finding a new house appropriate for haunting, I encountered other spirits, and we, against our better judgement, joined a quest to save a living human. One might say we transgressed the imperative duty of forbearance.
That spirits from the afterlife could intervene in the lives of mortals is not the only unusual feature of this story. A work of literature created from beyond the grave is a remarkable event. To the best of my knowledge, it is unique.
I say that this is my book, but I must give credit to a living co-author, Mr. Drew Bridges. Without his efforts, this work would not have been possible. How we came to collaborate in this endeavor is described within the book.
A New Haunt for Mr. Bierce is now available for pre-order, under the authorship of Mr. Bridges, at whatever place you shop for books.
I recently listened to an online forum called “Explosive Creativity in the Second Half of Life.” presented by Deanna Shoss of Intercultural Talk.
The topic caught my attention because one of the authors featured was Len Joy, award winning author of books including American Past Time and Everyone Dies Famous. Like Len, I was an aspiring writer in my youth but put this on the shelf, for various reasons, until I was much older.
The discussion was thought provoking but too short. I could have listened for much longer to the participants. I’ll focus on one topic that particularly caught my attention, the sometimes tricky issue of creating fictional characters from people in your life. I adhere to the belief that (almost) all fiction is autobiographical, and that no one builds a character from the void.
This brings me to the issue of creativity in later life. Living a long life gives you more material to work with, more people to draw from in creating a character. Certainly, there are young people who get there quickly, and there are formulas for crafting a story, such as the “hero’s journey” and murder mysteries, but even those are made richer by a lifetime of experience.
The list of people who found writing success in the last half of life is long, and includes Toni Morrison, Mark Twain, Marcel Proust, Annie Proulx, Henry Miller, and JRR Tolkien. With all due respect to the youthful brilliance of Mary Shelley and Stephen Crane, experience in living seems to be a real advantage.
I read. I write. I learn. I’m in a writing group and I have four published books. I’m still pretty sure I’m not Steinbeck, but my heart and soul have found their way back to where they should be.