Saturday, September 01, 2012

Don Vincente's Daughter: A collection of short stories by John Parkyn

I was thrilled to get a message yesterday from my ex pat New Zealand friend, John Parkyn, who has lived in Morelia, in the Mexican state of Michoacan since the mid 90s. John said his new book, a collection of short stories titled "Don Vincente's Daughter" had just been published in New Zealand by Oceanbooks.

This is a real thrill for me personally because for more than a decade now I have watched John work his Latin American inspirations into his writing, bringing it into conversation with his previous life experiences as a New Zealander who had long worked in editorial roles at the country's largest newspaper.

John wanted to be a writer in the full-fledged liberal arts sense of being a writer. Meeting and marrying Bety had taken him to Mexico, where writers are cherished, and with abundant time at his beck and call John turned his attention to writing and publishing -- particularly, short stories -- as a vocation.

I have seen many a story unfold, and have read and commented on numerous drafts. But above all I have had a rich glimpse of what it is like to be a writer, as distinct from being some kind of academic who happens to write books (which has been my own experience). I have loved watching the way John settled into his routines of writing for some time most days, but then having/taking the rest of the day to smell the roses.  Watching the move from typewriter to word processing, and observing the deep changes and shifts in worldview and practices entailed by that move. And watching the shift from a deep and total commitment to print as the default medium for a book to the idea that a book can, indeed, be and live electronically.

John has a rich array of plots and triggering events and has brought these to lively life in his book. He is now thinking about the steps to come, beginning in a few weeks with a trip back to New Zealand for a series of book launches and to catch up with friends and fellow authors over there.

Have a great trip, John, and all the best for the success of "Don Vincente's Daughter". I look forward to seeing plenty more in the years ahead.

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