Writing is a strange thing. When I was a kid, I knew I wanted to write, and I thought I knew what a writer’s life entailed. After all, TV and the movies gave me plenty of tropes. I’d grow up and have crazy thoughts and think myself profound and find that my most erudite musings found their way to paper best when swathed in pipe smoke and bathed in brandy.
Well, I don’t drink and I don’t smoke, but I’ve got the crazy and the delusions of grandeur down. The one thing I didn’t count on, though, has been perhaps the most rewarding of all. The people I’ve met along the way, men and women who happily and heartily throw themselves into the same breach I find myself stumbling through time and again. We happy few. Their kindness, wisdom, and esprit de corps always astound me. It is a joy to share in their successes, and an absolute honour when they enthusiastically share in mine.
Peter M. Ball’s one of those people I’ve found along the way. I met him at Clarion South in 2007. His story, The Last Great House of Isla Tortuga got critted on the first day, as did one of mine. The first couple of days worth of stories were emailed around a week or so early, so as to alleviate any lag or must-finish-this-story-in-the-next-20-minutes moments. I was struck by the quality of his writing, and found myself looking forward to his crits of every story because, hell, the guy knows his stuff. He knows it backwards and forwards. He’ll call you on it. I kid you not, I’ve seen the man physically wince at poor writing (or writing that falls into the same traps he sees it always falling into, which is the same thing).
He’s as professional an author as I can imagine, and the number of times I’ve been “critting” something for him and simply gone into reader mode and enjoyed the story are beyond count. He’s been published in just about everywhere worth getting published, and the things he makes work are amazing! An anti-unicorn story? Mimes? It’s a pleasure to be let in on his process, and the results are never predictable, accept that they all rock.
So, um, I guess when Peter says good things about me on his blog you should listen, right?