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Nov. 21, 1998: Character

In November of 1998, Beth and I were living in our Barrington Way townhome in Glendale, California, which hosted us and our cats nicely enough through a very exciting and challenging time. Going back to Arc of the Poet, that was our critical California move in the so-called “Fame and Fortune” era. While I was extremely thankful at that time to have landed on the staff of Crest National in Hollywood, my film industry dreams were still very personal, and I pressed on to the best of my abilities on every front. Externally, I continued to “swing for the fence” by submitting my best writing up to that point to places like the Guggenheim Foundation, to competitions, literary agents and contacts I thought might take an interest in the projects or the talent behind them. Internally, even at that time which is now almost 15 years in the past, I had identified a “next level” goal: writing a novel. Maybe if I had won that 1999-2000 Guggenheim Fellowship I applied for in late 1998, I would have made more progress.

Today, that objective remains very high on my list, and my nine-year-old son Riley is just one of the writers in my life who is showing me how it’s done. Through his fourth grade class, he is participating in National Novel Writing Month. He took off at the beginning of November and has been piling on the words.

Another real inspiration for me is my father-in-law Bill Martin. His sixth book has just gone off to the publisher – so the first paperback edition of “Rio Pecos Compound” is just a few weeks away. The adventures continue on the “Tales of Mason” website: http://williamfmartin.com

With all of my writing experience, when I look at long-form fiction writing, my vision splinters into a great number of facets. I feel the responsibilities as designer, architect, resident artist, builder and storyteller, for starters. And as these pieces are organized, then comes the time to put them into action. In the past, I have been able to move characters forward within some pretty interesting narratives; solid choice of subject matter is imperative. That is where I have found myself many times over the years, ready and willing but needing to write the right thing.

I have a guess that when the alignment occurs, it becomes sort of sublime. Below is a poem I wrote on 11/21/98. Amid all the outward amplification of myself happening at that time, inside I knew I had to write engagingly and thoughtfully. So many words can go into something – each must hook, tantalize, convey and deliver along the way toward somewhere worth going, for some reason. I usually wonder this: What’s the reason?

Character
by Roger Darnell Read more

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Arc of the Poet, Part 15: Being

“Being must be felt. It can’t be thought.” ― Eckhart Tolle

Like you and everyone else of course, when it comes down to essential facts, I have my parents to thank for my existence. Following on through with my countdown ‘Ramble’ project, I end (for now) this shared journey. These words complete a poetic arc for yours truly, and looking ahead, I am aiming to write and produce new works you will find to be flat-out fascinating.

At this point in my life, I have grown to love the act of writing a poem. It’s most sacred to me… Read more

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Arc of the Poet, Part 14: Ramblings

More than ten years ago, after relocating to the Blue Ridge Mountains and making final preparations for parenthood (we actally studied The Bradley Method), Beth and I launched into this current phase of our love story. Experiencing life’s joys and sorrows together over the next couple of years, while diligently tending to my business and supporting personal projects for many members of the family, I wondered what was to come for the creative writer. In 2002, I made up an answer, in the form of a new writing project named Ramble. In it, I aimed to address my personal challenges, write simply and seek new focus. From the beginning, these words have appeared at the top: “This document will hopefully grow in the weeks ahead to represent a journey: the rediscovery of the writer inside a person caught up in his life as businessman, husband and parent.”

Going mostly on instinct, I limited each line to 38 characters, wrote the first entry 73 lines long, and planned to make each subsequent verse one line shorter. If all went as hoped, I figured the final line would be something significant, even if most of the others might be forgettable.

Leaping ahead to the present, Ramble has been somewhat miraculous to me; as you might expect, it changed dramatically over time… and so have I. For the first, longest verses, I vented in detail about momentous developments, including some of the bigger political and global issues of those days. Progressively, I grew more and more daunted in facing the need to communicate things of real importance concisely. For anyone arriving at a crossroads in life with ability and time to write, I encourage a similar writing challenge. If you don’t have years and years to devote, begin with a five-line poem, then count down four, three, two and one: In my experience, it’s a productive approach at focusing oneself. Read more

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May 9, 2010: Granny Bea Photo Tribute, Ramble #7

I’ve written here before about my “Ramble” creative writing project. On Dec. 30 of 2009, I sat down to write a Ramble entry for my late grandmother Beatrice Ridings, who was widely known to many as Granny Bea, Aunt Bea, or Ms. Ridings. I had two wonderful grandmothers who have now passed on, and luckily for me, Grandma Eileen Darnell, who we called Bam, was also tight with Granny Bea, so on more than one occasion, I was able to enjoy them both simultaneously. At long last, I have published a separate collection for Grandma Bam, and below, I am very proud to share my tribute to Granny Bea. Read more

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October 3, 2009: Amelia, Eightish


Read more

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February 1, 2009: Brother a keeper

Ramble #10
by Roger Darnell

Every step of my life, you have been here.
Our shared life experiences as siblings
is what made me want it for my children…
even with all we have been through, bro.
I really can’t imagine my life without there
being a big brother, and you being him.
And now, on the verge of you achieving
something monumentally spectacular and
completely self-driven, I am awestruck,
and exceedingly proud. Rock on.

Ramble
January 17, 2008: #17
January 18, 2008: #16
February 1, 2009: #10
April 27, 2009: #9
October 3, 2009: #8
May 9, 2010: #7
August 18, 2010: #6Arc of the Poet, Part 14: Ramblings (#5)
Arc of the Poet, Part 15: Being (#4-#2)

Blog

January 18, 2008: Soaking it all in…

Ramble #16
by Roger Darnell

I haven’t logged in up at the top yet…
I’m hardly qualified to be a poet tonight.
It was a good day… a day with the kids.
No less than Hickory Dickory Dock: The
indoor recreational labyrinth of legend;
it did not disappoint. Home, in the snows,
well into our sixth Appalachian winter,
our family joined the neighbors for dinner;
they had other friends with kids join us.
A night of merriment was enjoyed by all.
Such a simple lifestyle, so warm, so fun.
We are basking in it, and so are our two.
Settled ways with nice friends, all well
far and wide where we are looking.
Much to do… and yet, what an adventure
this simple life is turning out to be!

Ramble
January 17, 2008: #17
January 18, 2008: #16
February 1, 2009: #10
April 27, 2009: #9
October 3, 2009: #8
May 9, 2010: #7
August 18, 2010: #6
Arc of the Poet, Part 14: Ramblings (#5)
Arc of the Poet, Part 15: Being (#4-#2)

Blog

January 17, 2008: Ramble #17

The ‘Bumper Crop’ series has at least one more entry, but requires a bit more work on my part before I can post the rest of the story. In the meantime, I wanted to share something from a more recent work. After we moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains almost exactly seven years ago, I found my creative writing energies more or less depleted. Soon, being a father added a new dimension to my life, and the one creative project that stayed on my agenda was to write an epic poem for Amelia, detailing the first day of her life from my perspective. That took over a year, and eventually it may find its way on here. After finishing that, in the moments when life and work settled down, I began to wonder what should come next. The answer found me in the form of a new project I conceived, and dubbed “Ramble.” Read more

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