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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Old Man and The Monkey by George Polley






Tips for novice writers  



          My tips for novice writers are simple. First, sit down with a note pad, your computer or iPad, or a napkin at a coffee shop or restaurant. If you are without these, write on the back of your hand. But first and foremost, write, and do not stop, and do not listen to people who pooh-pooh your efforts and tell you “You can’t write. What, you, a writer? Ha-ha!” Every single writer has had people tell them that. If you want to be sure that’s true, ask one, or read some of the author interviews archived at The Paris Review ( http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews ). You can also find them at Amazon.com ( http://www.amazon.com/The-Paris-Review-Interviews-I/dp/0312361750 ) in a number of volumes the one in the link is only one of them.
          It doesn’t matter how good, mediocre or awful your writing is, write! Don’t show it to anyone at first, but do save it and read it yourself. And beware of that nagging, put-down artist that is your inner critic. He or she (or they) are there to rain on your parade. It’s just natural self-doubt talking. Just keep writing. How do I know this? As a seventh grade student, my English teacher gave us an assignment to write a short story.  So I wrote the first one I’d ever written, got an “A”, and promptly pushed it out of my mind in spite of the fact that she praised my story and encouraged me to keep writing because I showed talent as a writer. But I didn’t write another thing until I was in my early thirties. That “inner critic” kept telling me there were more important things for me to do; besides, I was lousy at grammar and syntax (and still am). But what I did do was read every novel and other kinds of books I could get my hands on, and that “angel” of a teacher’s praise was always there nagging my self-doubt.
          When I first began to write, I’ve never stopped, though there have been times when I had too little time to devote much effort to it. The thing is, when you begin, keep going, and never give up.
          Second, keep a file of everything you write, no matter how bad it is, and mine it later for ideas. You’ll be surprised at what you find that you can use. Third, learn by reading your favorite authors. You’ll learn a lot about what makes a good story and a not-so-good one (or one that doesn’t appeal to you), the craft and the experience of being a writer and author, and that your own experiences (both good and bad) are fairly commonplace, which I found a huge relief. Fourth, explore outside your comfort zone, and write, write, write. Then, of course, send things off to publishers (book, magazines, etc.).
          Fifth, get around other writers, listen, share, ask questions, and write! If there’s a chance to meet a writer or author, take it. In the summer of 1968 I was introduced to Frederick Manfred, a well-known Midwestern novelist. He mentored me for the next several years, and was instrumental in my first short story and an article being published (South Dakota Review). Later I met poets Stephen Dunn and Kelly Cherry when the three of us were at Southwest Minnesota State University (they were on the faculty, and I was a counselor and a sociology Instructor). Listen, take notes, and ask questions. Sixth, find a writer’s group and ask to join it. I did that early on, and it was a huge help. I stumbled across it in a little magazine called “The Lake Street Review”, sent them a letter, and got an invitation to their next meeting. Today I belong to a writer’s group in Sapporo, Japan, where I live.
          Seventh, begin sending what you write to “little” magazines (they’re easier to get into than the “biggies”, especially when you’re starting out), and don’t worry about rejection slips, because you will get them. Keep a stack of self-addressed stamped envelopes on your desk (you won’t have to worry about doing that when a magazine or book publisher accepts manuscripts by email), and when you get a  manuscript back, put it in the next envelope and send it out again.
          “But what if I don’t succeed? What if I don’t become big time?” Well, what if you don’t? Most fiction writers, poets, artists and sculptors don’t make “the big time,” but they continue to write, paint, draw, sculpt, photograph, and compose anyway. And today, if you want to get yourself published and “out there”, there are more resources than there have every been, all courtesy of that wonderful thing called “the Internet”. Make an eBook, put it up on Amazon, Smashwords or some other resource, and see where it goes. But the basic thing is to create, and to enrich someone’s life with what you create. And that, in the final analysis, is all any of us -- including the great ones and those who create for themselves and their families, do.
          All the best to you in your writing.







The Old Man and The Monkey
George Polley

Genre: Adventure, Inspirational, Legend

Publisher:  Taylor Street Publishing

ISBN: 9781451543773
ASIN: B003T0GJ4E

Number of pages:  60
Word Count: 7,267

The Old Man and The Monkey is about a village elder in Japan and the large monkey who became his friend over the last five years of his life. Since the villagers don't like monkeys, none of them approve of the friendship between the old man Genjiro Yamada and Yukitaro ("snow monkey" in Japanese).

But Genjiro refuses to give up the friendship, even when his wife objects to it. After all, monkeys are nuisances and thieves. But over time, both Genjiro’s wife and the villagers come to grudgingly accept him, especially when, on several occasions, they receive a special blessing from him.

'The Old Man & The Monkey' is a stunningly beautiful story of a relationship which develops between an old man and a creature which is regarded as a dangerous pest in Japan, a snow monkey, in George Polley's moving allegory of dignity in the face of prejudice and racism.



About the Author:

George Polley was born in Santa Barbara, California and raised in Seattle, Washington. He has lived in California (Berkeley and Stockton), Illinois (Cooks Mills  and Villa Grove), Minnesota (Luverne, Marshal and Minneapolis), and from 1984 until early in 2008, in Seattle, when he and his wife moved to Sapporo, Japan so that she could fulfill her dream of returning to the land of her birth.

His work has appeared in the South Dakota Review, Crow's Nest, Expanding Horizons, The Enchanted Self, Community Mental Health Journal, Maturing, The Lyon County (Minnesota) Review  Wine Rings, North Country Anvil, North American Mentor Magazine, the McLean County (Illinois) Poetry Review, River Bottom, Tower Talks and Foundations.

He has also authored several booklets in the mental health field, two of them co-authored with Ana Dvoredsky, M.D. in 2007.

George's e-book 'The Old Man & The Monkey' poses one of the most elegant and powerful arguments against racism of all time, and his 'Grandfather & The Raven' argues equally compellingly against violence in all its forms. 

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