After dropping out of college for the first time, I took a break from reading, one I much regret. I was skateboarding in 105% of my free time, and working until three and sometimes four in the morning. That all changed when I went to visit my mom for Christmas about six years ago. I was looking at her bookshelf and asked if she had any recommendations to get me reading again, part of the problem was that I hadn’t really found a favorite author yet. She recommended I read The Devil’s Punchbowl, by Greg Iles.
I was hooked from the first few pages. The book is part of the Penn Cage series, and it starts out in a cemetery where he is to meet someone to discuss secrets dealing with his hometown of Natchez Mississippi. The book takes you through Penn’s adventure to make his hometown a better place, as he does in most of the Penn Cage novels. This was easily the longest book I had ever read at this point at over 700 pages, but that wasn’t a thought in my head as I couldn’t put it down. Iles made me fall in love with Penn, and this is the book that got me reading again, and ultimately led me to the conclusion that I should pursue a career in writing.
When I finished Natchez Burning a few years later, after reading all but two of Iles’s books, it was about four in the morning, but I was so moved by the ending that I got out my computer and just started typing to see what would happen. I saw the sun come up that morning, and got about halfway through one of my favorite, and first, short stories I’d written.
Before Iles I was all poetry, I had written a few things for school in English classes, but mainly emotional poetry. I have about six or seven journals that are packed full of my wild range of emotions throughout high school, and the time after. They are quite interesting reads, funny, sad, unbelievable, and at times, quite shocking. While they are some of my favorites, they will stay in my closet, and thanks to Iles, and my mother of course, I have begun my quest to have something more than poetry published.
If you’re interested in Greg Iles, you can find him here, and if you’re interested in any of my poetry, you can find it here. The further you go back on the site, the older they get, and there’s about 550 posts right now. Enjoy!