Poet, novelist and short story writer W. Somerset Maugham said there are three rules to writing, but no one knows what they are. Funny, but not true. I’ve published seven books and hundreds of stories and essays, won a few prizes along the way, and I’m here to tell you that there are many stateable rules about good writing, 10 of which, some old, some new, all refined from personal experience, I present to you here. Art will never be a science, and these are my rules of course, but...Forward
4 BOOKS TO READ THIS SPRING
Written by Jennifer Forbess
New reads for spring suggested by COCC writing instructor Jennifer Forbess.
by Poe Ballantine
People can often seem on the surface to be relatively normal, but you just know there is a lot going on underneath, including, most likely, a little bit of crazy! At the beginning of the novel Whirlaway, protagonist Eddie Plum is an inmate of Napa State Psychiatric Hospital. Why? I’m not exactly sure. After he escapes with the help...Forward
“At twenty-seven years old I was not emotionally equipped for living under lock and key behind sixteen-foot cyclone fences and having my ass stabbed every three days with drugs that turned my brains to buttermilk.” -Eddie Plum
To read the excerpt go to The Nervous Breakdown.
Poe Ballantine: The TNB Self-Interview
By TNB Fiction
April 10, 2018
The last time we talked we learned you were born in a log cabin and the illegitimate son of the Queen of England, what good that did anyone is hard to say, but I see you have another book coming out. Quite the coincidence.
I’ll say, and thanks for asking. Yes, it’s a horseracing, record collecting, and insane asylum novel called Whirlaway. It’s also about psychic evanescence, which is existing...Forward
In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
Previous contributors include Jesmyn Ward, Bret Easton Ellis, Celeste Ng, Lauren Groff, T.C. Boyle, Dana Spiotta, Amy Bloom, Aimee Bender, Heidi Julavits, Hari Kunzru, and many others.
Poe Ballantine’s novel Whirlaway is darkly comic and compelling.
Kirkus wrote of the book:
“Ballantine walks a wry tightrope here, imbuing his debauched characters with the drunken...Forward
Cousin Fuzzy Meets “Whirlaway” by Poe Ballantine
At the Gallup, New Mexico, bus station, just for the heck of it, I asked the clerk behind the counter where the bus did not go. He was amused and I think somewhat intrigued when he realized I was seriously going into a ticket office and asking about places they did not go. He had a slow way of speaking and studied me as if he cared, as if my mother were a Polish émigré and I should not let her down, as if I might not get away...Forward
AFTER 20 YEARS OF RAMBLING I BROKE DOWN AND WROTE A NOVEL
POE BALLANTINE ON THE MANY ROADS TRAVELED TO PUBLICATION
I set out on the road at the age of 18, a hitchhiking trip from the suburbs of my hometown of San Diego that turned into a freight-hopping trip that left me homeless and broke on the streets of New Orleans. An utter disaster, I nevertheless enjoyed the excitement and the challenge. Above all I thought I would write about my experiences some day.
Hooked on the rambling life and...Forward
Eddie Plum, who insists he’s been unjustifiably committed to a California psychiatric hospital, manages to finally escape after fourteen years of incarceration to start his life anew. On the run, he holes up in a sheltered barrio on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean owned by his wealthy but unsympathetic father. Here he meets Sweets, the telepathic dog, laments the loss of Sofia, his madhouse lover, and plays the horses at the Del Mar Racetrack. Eventually he meets up with an old friend, Shelly...Forward