Meet the Author – Vee James
My love of stories began with my mother, Doris, reading to me. Not just Dick and Sally or children’s literature but the classics. She read aloud whatever she was reading for herself, whether it was Shakespeare or “The Ancient Mariner”. At two, I crawled up on a tree stump to deliver those immortal words, “To be or not to be”. True story.
At 5, I dictated to my mom my first play. As she typed away on her Smith-Corona, I told the story of “Love versus Hate”. I went on to “write” schoolboy versions of “Tom Sawyer”, “Romeo and Juliet”, and others.
Performance was in my blood and I turned to acting in children’s theater and performances in high school and college. I played Uncle Smelicue in “Dark of the Moon”, Bottom in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, and a starry-eyes lover in the melodrama, “Bertha, the Bartender’s Beautiful Baby”. I had the unique experience of playing Randall P. McMurphy in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” the same year Nicholson won the Oscar.
Always sustaining this energy was the love of stories and language. I never found it difficult to perform because I loved to share the words of great writers with an audience.
In the 90’s, a dear friend challenged me to write stories in many different genres and together we explored Fantasy, Horror, Supernatural, SciFi, Travel Writing, and many other forms. I was so fortunate to have this friend who presented me with both supportive feedback and brotherly critique.
In 2012, I attended what is truly a life-changing writers workshop in New Hampshire called “Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust”. For six intense weeks, I felt like a Martian colonist cocooned in an immersive, writer-friendly capsule. My skills put to the test daily, my imagination challenged by the great minds around me, my heart soaring with the love of this art.
Even with this powerful infusion, it took me a long time to believe deeply enough in my skills to want to publish. But now I feel myself turning outward, reaching out to the rest of humanity, searching for like-minded readers who balance a healthy sense of humor with a serious exploration of the human condition.
The King of Motivation
One of the hardest working writers I know is Vee James, a spinner of sly and clever fantasy, including the comic sci-fi tale The Little Ship of Horrors. He writes and edits multiple projects at once, constantly moving forward to not only entertain his growing audience but to hone his skills. I asked him how he maintains this level of motivation.
“Before I had a book out, I began telling myself: ‘I am an author.’ When I had one book out, I had T-shirts, notebooks, and anything else I wanted made with my book cover on them. Not to sell—for me to wear and get excited about being an author. When I had a few books out and began to make wonderful industry contacts, I thanked them with gifts to remind them of our partnership together.”
Vee also maintains an inspiration wall that he covers with sheets of paper bearing advice from fellow writers. “One of my favorites came from Jeanne Cavelos, the director of the Odyssey Writing Workshop,” Vee says. “In encouraging us to write boldly, she said to tell ourselves, ‘It’s not like me, but I’m going to try.’ As the years went on, I began to replace those writerly catchphrases with symbols of accomplishment.”
Besides visualizing his success, Vee uses affirmations. “I never tell myself, ‘I won’t make it’ or ‘I’m not worthy,’ ” he says. “My words to myself, which I know are powerful, are, ‘I will make it’ and ‘I am worthy.’ ”
If you’re a writer, what motivates you to move forward? Small rewards, the flow of creative energy, routines, or visualizing success? Something else? Knowing what inspires you is sometimes half the battle.
When the pandemic restrictions ease and the gift of time is gone, what will you have to show for it? Hours spent watching content that you’ve already forgotten? Or a body of work that will pay long-term dividends?