All writers have a process that allows them to create. However, the art of "Writing" is often mistaken for that "Process." Hopefully this blog explains the difference, and inspires people to develop their crafts, become writers, or just keep on writing.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Side Note: Chris Drnaso

I had a pretty busy day leading up to sitting here at my desk, typing up this post. Woke up early, played with the cats, had breakfast, got in some work, walked about 22,000 steps (just over 10 miles with my legs), and enjoyed the lightest of rain on a very pleasant spring day. All the time I was doing these things, I was thinking about different things I wanted to write about this afternoon. Definitely something about just what it takes to be a writer this time around, but I couldn't grab just one idea. By the time I got home from my long walkabout, I had centered around a basic premise and would see where it went. I sat down, fired up the computer, and prepared myself.

That's when I discovered that Chris Drnaso had died.

To understand Chris Drnaso was a bit of a challenge for me - the man was quite the enigma. He headed up our writer's group at the Tinley Park library - the League of Aspiring Writers (LAW, which, coincidentally, is meeting tonight). He's been a writer for a long time, but would be the first to admit he wrote his first novel as a personal "bucket list" challenge. (I did not know this at the time he mentioned his first book, but he had been battling cancer at the time - a fight he kept up for 17 years.) So, what started as a personal challenge to see if he could do it developed into another chronic condition - that of being a writer. He wrote several more books, each one a personal mission to create, to share, to immortalize an idea. He became a writer basically by the sheer action of writing. And from that he became a teacher.

I knew him as a very generous and giving person, but more important than that was his willingness to share. That's an important step for any writer to take - putting your work out there and taking in the feedback that allows you to discover more about what works, what doesn't, and how your own voice sounds. I know plenty of prolific writers who remain stuck in place because they can't muster up the moxie to put themselves out there and run the risk of growth. Chris did this happily, and was always very constructive in lifting others up as well. Even when he would explain how one of my submissions just didn't seem to work for him, he would do it in such a way where I knew exactly what I needed to do to up my writing game just a little bit more. And it always worked.

Now I am preparing to go to tonight's meeting. I have a piece of writing to share, and yet that's not the part that will concern me. The news of Chris's death is just getting around, and I am not sure if the LAW members know about it at this point. This meeting will be different, and even if we have a full house tonight, there will be an empty space that we just won't be able to fill. I think we will still get our acts together so we can read, and critique, and motivate each other to be better writers. I am pretty sure he would've wanted it that way.

Thank you, Chris.        

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