Friday, December 21, 2012

This is an article I wrote for Brian Keene's on-line magazine JOBS IN HELL in 1999:



It's as if it's my real name: the Ubiquitous DF Lewis (called this so many times, I've lost count), even called "the ridiculously prolific DF Lewis" in a recent organ!  How do I manage this? Or, perhaps more important, why?

    Well, some have claimed that I play on my reputation to get so much stuff published (at the last loose count--over 1200 different stories in touchable organs like magazines and books from 1987). I counter-claim it is DESPITE my reputation that I've managed to achieve what I have achieved. I've been hauled over the critical coals so often--sometimes so devastatingly--I wonder why anyone continues to bother publishing the little rotters at all. But still they crank out, as best as I can muster them for the neat ranks of dead insects that some call print.

    I suppose I started with a splatter-gun method of submitting, spraying all manner of stories to all manner of unlikely outlets. Some hit. Most missed. But some hit real big. I've been lucky, too. Some real nice people who knew their stuff took me under their wing and showed me how to crest the sometimes-thin thermals of creative writing. I played on my strengths and weaknesses, by beginning to quote in my blurb all the critical comments made about me—-and I mean ALL. By experience, I learned to target my submissions, but this was only perfected after about six or seven years of doing it. Luck continued apace. Knowing people, rubbing shoulders, pressing flesh, all these things HELPED. Also—-and it wouldn't be fair to leave this out—-in order to work my method above, you'd need some capital to pay for the postage and materials, especially with so many missed targets, 'black holes' and fruitless acceptances. (It's easier now, I guess, with the Internet.) I have never made any money from writing and never expect to do so.

    Anyway, back to answering "how"--I started a few years ago something I've never regretted. Collaborating stories. Better than sex, I'd say. The mutual creative brainstorming is something else! And I believe some gems have been produced and have helped me through many a writer's block. Helps you get published when you're having it away with someone more famous than you! I could go into the philosophical/linguistic background to collaborating the way I do, but that is probably another article, some time.

    I even collaborate, in effect, onanistically—-utilizing old unused pieces from the different think-world of an earlier, discrete self, mix-and-matching them with my current brain cycles. And talking about brains, mining a brand new story from fresh ore is also like collaborating … if you've got two brains, as I have! (Perhaps being a thick-skinned eccentric also helps in any venture; not that I've consciously nurtured this persona. I just am.)

    I digress. I think I've covered the main points to answer "how". As to "why"? Simple. Because DF Lewis believes what he writes is worthwhile. And, at the end of the day, that is hopefully the main answer to the question "how", too.

    DF Lewis was never born--he emerged in ineluctable slow motion. Des, however, his counterpart, was born 18 January 1948 in Walton On Naze, Essex,UK. Sun in Capricorn, Leo Rising, Pluto/Saturn close to Ascendant, highly aspected Moon in Aries and Jupiter in Sagittarius, two Grand Trines etc. School in Colchester, EssexLancaster University (1966-69 where he met his wife. Two children, (28) and (25). 1970-1992 Company Pensions expert. Lived in Croydon (South London) during that period. Now lives in Clacton on Sea,Essex. 1200+ different stories published in print outlets since 1986. His novella AGRA ASKA published to critical acclaim during 1998-9, but few seem to have read it. Received British Fantasy Society Karl Edward Wagner award in 1998. Now his website hosts an electronic forum called Weirdmonger.

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