A woman, what does she look like? She looks like someone imagined forty years ago, on a lonely cold night when nightmares lurked just on the other side of sleep. The mind whispered, "This woman has a lot more problems than you have," and began to weave a tale of a fresh-faced girl who challenged her surroundings, only to wind up alone, broken-hearted, then dead and forgotten.
Yes, that is what the woman looked like, when I was thirteen. But maybe this time, she doesn't have to end that way. What would you have her say if she could say what you want to say?
Why, I wish she could say, for me, that life is incredibly beautiful, and that the most blessed experience of life is to see it deeply all around us, unique, spectacularly alive in even the tiniest detail, the dance of ants or the colors of the center of a flower. She could say what I wanted to say from my youth: that my goal in life was to live each day watching it unfold, and that such a goal was not an anomaly or an affront against society. Yes, she could say that, but why would she?
There was a sudden wave of understanding washing over me in 2001. She's saying this because she very nearly lost sight of it!
So began my first novel, Dreamer.
Prior to writing Dreamer, I thought there was no fiction in me. I'd toyed with poetry and cartooning as a teen, but spent much less time on them than on math and chemistry. Writing a coherent sentence was a scholastic requirement, but writing? Stories?
Well, who knew.
Five hundred-odd stories and episodes and installments later, I have to admit that I love writing, that evenings when I don't ensconce myself in my comfy writing chair, I'm dissatisfied with the end of the day; that letting the latest idea run wild in the letters on the computer screen is just about the most fun I could possibly have (with the possible competition of standing in the surf on Cape Hatteras in September, waiting for bluefish to hit my lines), that small noted sounds and sights making my mind juggle around possible stories to follow them -- why, yes, I do love that feeling.
Would I ever have written Dreamer had it not been for Alexandra Queen giving me the unruly-and-needs-to-be-thumped poke: "You have to try writing a novel, you have to! I know you can!" No, I never would have considered the possibility.
Would I have continued to write after Dreamer (or even have bothered to edit it) without Alex's creation of the Piker Press? I seriously doubt it. For although I fell in love with writing when I started typing my first novel, it was the venue of the Piker Press that gave me a platform, a stage, and a reason to keep on going.
Get famous? Get rich? Get lunchboxes and t-shirts with a Dreamer logo across them? Get jeans printed with "I'm a Piker" across the butt? No, that's not going to happen, I don't think. But what does happen is that there is a place where some people go to read stories that don't make them gag, or say, "What the hell is that supposed to mean?" and maybe someone will read, and chuckle, or think, and say, "What are these jokers going to come up with next week?"
That's what the Piker Press is for. Writing. Fiction. Non-fiction. Poetry. Artwork. Photography. The Piker Press is for putting your heart out there. That's it. Heart, not commerce. Heart, not fashion.
After seven years of being a weekly ezine, that's still what we're about -- the heart of writers who want to write and toss their stories across the starry sky of the internet with a grin and no tomorrow. We write. We are here. We want to hear and tell the stories, from Grandma's pies to how the inner cities of America have to change, from the vast reaches of space to the interaction of germs.
Published in the Piker Press? Oh, published, indeed.
Next goal: to be able to surf fish on Cape Hatteras all day and write all evening.
-- Sand Pilarski