On Need and the Single Digit Victory Sign ~ DA Kentner’s View From the Keyboard

DA (David) Kentner (aka KevaD) is one of those writers on the front lines of the battle to remind folks how important it is to keep reading. He is a regular contributor to the Freeport Journal Standard, and his column “The Readers’ Writers” is distributed nationwide. Recently, David took the time to share his view from the keyboard.

Kentner: My workspace reflects my work habits – contained calamity. This is my corner of our home, the back part of the living room, the room within a room. Here I can glance at my grandchildren or the memory of a beloved pet, ponder the hand that once carried the barn lantern, visualize the family that read by the oil lamp. The flag sat on my desk the years I was our city’s chief of police. Near it is the clock and plaque my staff presented me when I announced my retirement. The shelves are filled with reference books and novels I hope to read… someday.

Every morning I sit here to write. This is also the last place I sit before I go to bed. Sometimes day and night intertwine. That’s why there are four clocks, so no matter which way I turn I’ll know what time it is. The window just out of view helps me distinguish AM from PM.

I’m a writer. It’s what I do, what I love, what gives me life. Originally I wrote solely for my enjoyment. Then I was told I “needed” to be published. I hadn’t been aware I possessed that need, but bent to the idea. During my quest for publication a professional editor told me my skills weren’t good enough and I would never be published. Wrong answer. The gauntlet was at my feet. I picked up the challenge, and haven’t set the darn thing aside since.

Dozens of stories no one will ever see attest to the fact I still write for my sole enjoyment. But another persona sits with me in the chair now; a writer who takes pleasure in seeing his work in the hands of a reader, in the knowledge we brought a smile to a face or a tear to an eye. There will be some who won’t understand what I do. I write to write. For me, it’s not about profit in a bank account, it’s the profit of joy in my heart. It’s the kind word from a reader that he or she enjoyed one of my stories or an interview with a fellow author.

And it’s about giving that editor a single digit victory sign.

I think the best example of my character-driven style of writing is the short story “The Caretaker.” However, here’s a sneak peak at my current work in progress, “Hearts on a Paper Boat.”

 

HEARTS ON A PAPER BOAT (excerpt) 

Chapter One

Sometime between her first tear and the unexpected rain shower, the flags, the color guard in their white berets and gloves, the blue and brown uniforms of more law enforcement agencies than she could count grayed and blurred. Hannah Preston drew her knees to her chest and shivered in the grove of pines. It wouldn’t be long now. She closed her eyes to wall out the finality and hugged her legs as she had her teddy bear so many years ago in another life where the people she loved didn’t die.

Pop-op. Seven rifle shots masquerading as one reported across the cemetery, over the oats field, up the incline to her hiding place, and bore into her brain as if maggots after food. She gripped her elbows and compressed her body under the onslaught of agony rebounding from bone to bone inside her.

Pop-op. Seven more. She winced and shuddered.

Pop-op. The final volley of the twenty-one gun salute to a fallen brother officer drilled with dental precision through her ears, down her throat and into her belly. A fiery puddle of acid erupted and corroded what little desire remained to live another day.

Like a brass mourning dove, a solitary bugle wept Taps between the raindrops’ patter.

Hannah rested her forehead on her denim clad knees and clenched her jaw, but the chatter of her teeth drummed an erratic beat into her heart vying for a sustainable rhythm. A jolt of unchained sorrow and guilt ached down her spine and numbed every nerve, leaving only cold to ooze through her veins.

◊◊◊

David, thank you for your View From the Keyboard. And thanks, too, for the work you do to keep readers reading and writers writing with your column, “The Readers’ Writers.” To read more, check out: dakentner.blogspot.com. And coming soon, the view from fiction and nonfiction writer Michael Downs and Scottish writer Craig Gilbert. PMc←

52 Replies to “On Need and the Single Digit Victory Sign ~ DA Kentner’s View From the Keyboard”

  1. Structure around you. Time structure, physical structure, things that keep you grounded. Foursquare, even. No wonder you never lose track of reality when you stretch out your wings and leap into the infinite world of unshaped words.

  2. So that’s where the genius of DA puts in work. I think I need to upgrade my little space. Think it might help me crank out some high quality stuff akin to your renderings Dave? Maybe? Possibly?

    Looking forward to reading more of Hearts on the boards man. Keep up the kickass word output.

  3. Oh, your work space sounds like mine. Hee! If anyone hasn’t had a chance to pick up one of David’s books, you should seriously go find one and read it. All his works are great! Can’t wait till this one is done. Wishing all the very best!

  4. Oh, your work space sounds like mine. Hee! If anyone hasn’t had a chance to pick up one of David’s books, you should seriously go find one and read it. All his works are great! Can’t wait till this one is done. Wishing all the very best!

  5. David, your talent is magical. I, too, had someone influential tell me I’d never amount to anything and certainly never become a writer. The tenacity with which you have lived life – full and brave – is mirrored in your craft. Who would believe a man of your stature and responsibilities would craft comical gay romances? Or heart wrenching dramas of survival? And this poetic, breathtaking excerpt is another side of you…all wrapped up in a teddy bear smile and a heart of gold. Your muse gives you life on a different plane now. Go there at the beginning and the end of the day. Let the experiences of your past illuminate your future as an author and friend. Let the clocks be still and never call you away from that which we can’t wait to read.

  6. Hi David! It’s always reassuring to know that writing seems to generate chaos immediately around other authors. My “space” seems to shrink with time. I am eagerly awaiting the finished product of Paper Hearts 🙂

    1. Hi S.D.,
      Ironically, my space shrinks every day. The books I want to read seem to be another inch out of reach each new day with the arrival of still more stories I just have to have.

      I used to have a stereopticon and a couple hundred picture cards on the desk, but I’d lose myself in the images of the past and couldn’t get any work done. So, it had to go.

  7. David is a good friend and an excellent “writer’s writer:” He’s the kind of guy who’ll take time out of way too much going on to sit down and take a look at what you’re doing and tell you what’s wrong, and right, with it. Not only that, but he’s fiercely loyal and goes to the mat for his friends, sometimes to his own detriment.
    And he’s got a hell of a snarky sense of humor, too! If you haven’t read his work yet, you’re missing out. DON’T! Check him out, in either of his alter egos: you won’t be disappointed.
    *BTW: That opening left a lump in my throat.*

  8. I also happen to have a file of ‘never to be read-only for me’ files, but there is something special about knowing someone reads your work and is touched in a way. Thanks for the look into your writing nook 🙂
    Stephanie Beck

    1. Hello Stephanie,
      Thank you very much.
      I absolutely agree with Ms. McNair that sometimes those files need to be mined. But there are also those stories that belong to our hearts alone.

  9. As I read your post I am huddled in my little corner of my living room where my little roller cart with it’s many over stuffed drawers are full of this and that against the wall, and my little table that holds my laptop. My little corner is a smaller version of your clutter, and I don’t even have the excuse of being a writer by any stretch of the imagination…:)
    Your a gifted writer whose characters have already been placed as my all time favorites reads collection. I have laughed the hardest than I have in a long time, and cried like a baby too. Those are the forever keepers as I call them…*S*
    And thank you for those stories that I have been lucky to read so far. I have more of your work that I have not yet gotten to but that’s just because my tbr pile is much too tall right now…*S*
    Keep writing those stories, for you sure have not been read and enjoyed enough yet…*S*

    Darcy

    1. Hello, Darcy!!
      You’re always so good to me.
      By the way… Chaz and Mike said to tell you that if they ever actually give a pet a name, Darcy is at the top of the list.
      Thanks, Darcy!!

  10. Thanks for the peek at how you work, David. I hate to say it, but your desk is much much neater than mine. LOL.

    I’m really looking forward to Hearts on a Paper Boat. Keep writing.

  11. So that’s where it all happens 🙂 I like peeking at a writer’s work space, where they sit and produce such wonderful work. Keep it up, David, your work is amazing 🙂

    *hugs*
    Ren

    1. Hello, Ren.
      Thank you for coming to Patty’s house (Ms. McNair said I could call her Patty. Honest.)
      Definitely take the time to traverse the pages of this blog. There are truly some amazing writers here.
      And if you have an urge to review “The Temple of Air,” I doubt Ms. McNair would mind.

  12. Hmm maybe that organized little corner is what makes you so productive. I might have to make some adjustments. It kind of puts sitting with my laptop in the lazyboy to shame. LOL

    As a fan of your work I’m thrilled you didn’t listen to that editor. You have an amazing way with words and I for one can’t wait to read more.

    1. A Lazyboy and a laptop, eh, Lauren? Sounds like my husband and cat. (Of course I am kidding! My husband is one of the hardest working men I know.) Even so, having a comfortable space is at least as important as an organized one, isn’t it? Thanks for reading. -Patty

    2. Ooh, a laptop.
      Someday. I keep promising myself that anyway.
      But then I could write anywhere in the house, and I don’t know if my workspace would forgive me.
      Thank you so much for your kind words, Lauren.

  13. So much life in that space, I love it! I have recently gone the laptop route and am not sure it’s working for me. Your set up of having a truly dedicated space to write seems ideal. I am very jealous.

    And not just of the space, as always the piece you shared was GREAT! Looking forward to reading more.

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