WRITING POETRY AND SPECULATIVE FICTION - my own therapy?
By Tony Thorne MBE
Nowadays, to some editors, it must seem that there are more writers around than readers. Perhaps it's an amateur's alternative to a normal occupation? An exercise in self-fullfillment, a way to express and analyse one's feelings about the world, and where it's going, and communicate them too. Yes, there are easier ways to relieve one's feelings when it comes to pure therapy. Years ago, to become your own psychiatrist, the minimum you needed was pencil and paper; but nowadays, your personal laptop is more convenient. Everywhere can become a couch and it's more socially acceptable than talking to yourself.
Put it all down then ... scribble away, unbutton your creative belt and let everything hang out. Develop your expressive urges and have your characters tell your conscience how you feel. Above all be honest with yourself, even if it hurts. It often does, and this is the voice of experience.
I spent over twenty years, designing and building up product lines, travelling the world, setting up outlets, crumpling the competition, getting the best out of my staff, listening to their problems, and solving them, even my own when I could. The nearer I got to the top of the tree, the more I longed to release my over-pressurised feelings, throw away my collection of emotion-screening masks, insult all the customers, turn my order book in for an axe and hack away at the plastic feet of all the false idols I seemed to be worshipping. I felt disillusion and contempt for the commercial rat-race, and the way it submerged my appreciation of the simpler things in life. Even used car salesmen must have their sensitive moments, and twinges of conscience.
I resented the never-ending battle, that seemed necessary, to just stay level, let alone to advance, and I was filled with remorse at the neglect of my home-life and family. All the time you see my conscience was wearing me down. It refused to believe my contrived excuses and justification for what I was doing. I eventually knew I needed some kind of therapy, because I really wanted to give it all up, but I needed the money.
On aircraft, in trains, restaurants, waiting at airports, anywhere I had the time and the inclination I made notes and kept them. Some of them later turned into cynical poems, several with scientific themes, and I had many of them published, and was well received whenever I could fit in time to give readings. Since the few short stories I wrote, a long time ago back in my SF fan days, which were published, my first new project was a soul-searching, experimental semi-autobiography entitled HOW TO BE A TOP EXECUTIVE. It took two years to write, and get off the ground, in between all the time spent developing, and travelling the world promoting international exports of advanced technology instruments and equipment. The book did modestly well, last century, and it is available now from Amazon and other outlets as an eBook and a paperback.
Then one day, just before I was sixty, I threw in myAnglo-American executive job and went to work for myself. Not as a writer of fiction but as a self-taught computer programmer, specialising in AI software for, generating business programs. This became successful, and with no more international travelling, I soon I found I had more time to start writing fiction again, as opposed to technical papers and articles.
I kept this up until I finally retired, when I turned eighty, and now only write and mostly promote my output.
More of the smaller magazines and genre websites began to take my work, and still do, and I've also won a few competitions. I’ve published over 15 collections of speculative SciFi and Macabre tales, and my first novel was published this year, by Eternal Press in California, and a first sequel is well under way. So, things are progressing, and I am close to believing now that there can be contentment in adequacy ... the limits of one's abilities. Perhaps the trick is to get as far as you truly believe you can, or stop just before that.
All my books are available from most outlets, e.g.:
my website is: www.tonythorne.com