An Artist’s Epiphany

I just finished a 6-week writing course, Life in 10 Minutes. A simple discipline where the participants would write for 10 minutes. Then read their work out loud. Only the facilitator would offer commentary. No cross talk was permitted for fear of diluting the writing. We would then rinse and repeat for the two hours. This little oasis of creativity in the midst of the hectic world of getting stuff done led to an epiphany. I realized I've been my most creative at the edges of life's spectrum. I'm most inspired to express when I'm either depressed or euphoric. At these times I feel compelled to share my pain or my joy. Fortunately, I don't live my life at these extremes. And so, the discipline of my craft and the demands of being a "professional creative" require I still get stuff done between the extremes. The facilitator, Valley Haggard, observed that people stuck in the extremes suffer mental illness. Artists visit these extreme territories and then return to express … [Read more...]

Who’s Bothered by “Berenice?”

At twenty-six, Poe had three unsuccessful volumes of poetry to his credit and was trying to get noticed by submitting his short stories to writing contests. He complained, “to be appreciated, one must be read,” but he just couldn’t get his works in front of enough readers. Just when making a living from his pen seemed impossible, he got an offer from a new magazine in Richmond called The Southern Literary Messenger. Sure, the magazine was only a year old and still had only had 500 subscribers, but Poe saw its potential to finally make his name. The editor, Thomas Willis White, knew little about literature, but he believed the South was in desperate need of a magazine that would publish the latest works by southern authors. At the time, the country’s most popular authors lived in the big northern cities like New York and Boston. White wanted his magazine to be a showcase for the best southern literature, but barely anyone was buying it. His first editor left after a year because … [Read more...]

Exciting New Project

The Storytellers Channel is initiating a project to record the entire Edgar Allan Poe canon. We encourage you to visit our homepage and download the FREE Audio Book: The Tell-Tale Heart. We hope you enjoy it and we look forward to your feedback. Poe wrote over 130 works. He’s credited with inventing the detective story. His horror stories are as chilling today as we imagine they were when they were first unveiled. Of equal interest for us; Poe was the first American to try to make a living solely as a writer. We’ve started with The Tell-Tale Heart because The Poe Museum in Richmond, VA asked Gayle Turner to give a public reading of it in their garden last summer. That’s where we got the idea. Many thanks to Matthew Whitworth and his colleagues at Overcoast USA recording studios. And Charles George of Entrepreneur Impact for his masterminding this effort. Of equal importance, we thank the Poe Museum’s Executive Director, Jaime Fawcett, and their brilliant curator, Chris … [Read more...]

What do you want people to remember?

My daddy was a storyteller. I loved his stories. They were just one of the reasons I so enjoyed spending time with him.  He always had a story to share.  Sometimes it was a new story; often it was one I’d heard before. He had stories about growing up, stories about the Navy, stories about the job.  He had stories about courting my mom, stories about playing cards, stories about me.  Most of all he had stories about the consequences of behaving one way or another. Some of his stories were short, some not so; many of his stories were funny, but not all.  Daddy was a brick mason who specialized in residential remodeling. He used to tell a story about his favorite laborer, Junie.  Daddy discouraged sitting down on the job.  If you’d finished what he’d asked you to do, he’d say, “look around and find someplace to keep moving. No homeowner wants to look out the window and see men sitting around. They already think the job costs too much and seeing guys sitting around just confirms … [Read more...]