I have been a writer for as long as I can remember. It started early, junior high, seventh grade, Ms. Sack’s English class. The assignment was simple: write a short adventure story. My story was based on a French Foreign Legionnaire trapped in the desert, searching for water. I know, not very original, but for the eleven year-old me it was a window into the world that could be, the world that I could create. Poetry was earlier by a year. In sixth grade I remember writing two poems, longer ones, and having my dad type them at work for me. I was so thrilled when he returned them to me, so formal on stiff paper, that I forgave him the inclusion of commas in places I had not wanted, and a few line breaks where there shouldn’t have been. It didn’t matter. In the course of one year my world had opened, and I was on my way.
And from there the writing just took off. I launched into a full blown, Tolkien-esque epic of elves, dwarves, orcs, and men. I wrote alternative myths and poetry about love and life. I was published in my high school’s literary magazine, The Gossamer Thread, and used my writing portfolio -complete with all of the high school level writing- when I transferred from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (and my floundering Biology major) to the College of Saint Rose (English major, finally).
In college, the exposure to great writers inspired me, no doubt, but the real kicker was the experience of writing under the tutelage of Hollis Seamon. Hollis had a way of inspiring, and the time I spent with her as an undergrad in numerous fiction writing courses and as a grad student in independent studies in fiction were invaluable.
From there it has been a whirlwind of life, writing, teaching, coaching, and creating. I have dabbled in website design. I have founded a high school literary magazine, much like the one that first published me. And I have been published. Six times over the last thirteen years I’ve had work appear in online literary magazines, starting with my story “Lighthouse” in the June 2003 edition of the now defunct Arbutus, and, lastly, with “Pillow Talk” in the July 3rd edition of Flash Fiction Magazine.
And the writing goes on. As chronicled in my blog, writing is a way of life, a writing life, so to speak. And I am a writer. Not a prolific one, mind you, but a writer nonetheless. And I have the publications to prove it! Of the five, three survive for viewing in the ever-changing world of online magazines. The other two are, sadly, lost. Arbutus is still around, but it is now a magazine dedicated to poetry reviews, and the archives don’t stretch back before their hiatus of 2006. Any older work is gone. The Square Table, site of my story “Dreamers,” was one of those really cool zines that just oozed dedication and writerliness. The editors really were trying to make the magazine a great lit mag, but, alas, it is a tough world, and TST folded.
I will continue to write and seek to get published. It’s a journey, after all, of love. Here are the existing links to the stories I have had published so far:
~published on July 3, 2016 in Flash Fiction Magazine
“What You Wish For”
~published in the December 2015 edition of Black Denim Lit.
~ published in the March 2011 edition of Stirring: A Literary Collection
“Fines Double in Work Zone”
~published in the Autumn 2006 edition of Antithesis Common
~published in the Summer 2003 edition of The Square Table
~published in the Summer 2003 edition of Arbutus
Poets & Writers directory: https://www.pw.org/content/brian_stumbaugh