I am delighted to welcome writer and academic, Kevin Carey to the blog today to discuss the importance of writing in his life. Over to you, Kevin.
Thanks for hosting me today, Val.
Why I write? Well, the short answer is I’d be lost without it. I love telling stories in a few different forms: poetry, fiction, drama, and if I had to keep these story ideas all bottled up inside me with no outlet, I may not be able to handle it.
But the reason that has grown with me over the years, all got started when I published my first poem in a small literary journal and was invited to read at a bookstore in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The poem was about a guy I worked with on the beach who had passed away. I read it that evening and a man came up to me afterwards and we had a conversation about losing someone and just how that felt. I remember driving home that night thinking of the simple exchange of ideas that came out of that single poem. I knew then that I wanted to do more of this.
Sure we write to entertain, to share experiences (fictionalized and not), and to be recognized and appreciated, but at the end of the day it’s about the human exchange between two people. One writer and one reader. I’m reminded of the late great Richie Havens being asked about his music career. He said, “I’m not in the music business, I’m in the communication business.”
Writing has become such a way of life for me. I hang with writers; many of my friends are writers; I support and am supported by other writers. I’m lucky to have a job where I teach writing. When I’m not at the computer working on something, I’m involved in the business of writing or sharing thoughts with different communities of writers. So, back to my original comment, I don’t know what I’d be like without it— probably lost, and wishing I had done it.
My only regret when it comes to writing, is that I didn’t start earlier in my life. So, that would be my advice to people thinking about writing. Don’t hesitate if you have the itch. Ignore that voice that tells you should be doing something else. There are far more wonderful reasons to write than there are drawbacks. I’ve learned a lot about the craft over the years, whether I’m working on a book of poems, or a mystery novel, or a stage play. But I’ve learned even more about myself.
Like I tell my students: always be writing.
Kevin Carey is the author of a chapbook of fiction, The Beach People (Red Bird Chapbooks) and three books of poetry from CavanKerry Press, The One Fifteen to Penn Station, Jesus Was a Homeboy which was selected as an Honor Book for the 2017 Paterson Poetry Prize, and the recently released Set in Stone (2020).
Kevin is also a filmmaker and playwright. His latest documentary film, Unburying Malcolm Miller, about a deceased Salem, MA poet, premiered at the Mass Poetry Festival in 2016 and his latest stage play “The Stand or Sal is Dead” a murder mystery comedy, premiered in Newburyport, MA. at The Actor’s Studio in June of 2018.
Murder in the Marsh (Darkstroke Books) his first crime novel was released in October 2020.