I’m a husband (15 years), father (5 kids), and writer that is serious about what I believe and how I love. My day job is for an assessment company, so most of the writing I do is actually writing prompts to get other people writing. But when I’m not doing that, I like to dabble in all forms of the written word. Most of what I blog/short-form write is nonfiction, but when I sit down to write something longer it is usually fiction. I have not had the good fortune to publish anything yet. Nor have I really finished anything sufficiently to send to publishers. So there is blame to go around.
I drink my coffee black, and by the gallon. I also prefer dark lagers and stouts. My favorite stories involve characters that are nuanced, plots that are coherent, and conflicts that are not contrived. This is, as you might guess, a limiting set of criteria when it comes to many popular works of fiction for the page and screen.
#FP: What do you love most about writing? What speaks to you?
JH: Words are powerful spirits. They are, like ideas, both real and not. Tangible and intangible. We can write the symbol that means “tree,” and that symbol both is the thing we’ve written, and yet entirely arbitrary and apart from a sky-reaching plant. Writing is the exercise of putting these powerful spirits together. Making them dance. It is a challenge because there is always a new way to say the think you’ve thought to say; it is a joy because there are constantly things I’m thinking to say.
#FP: So, what have you written?
JH: As I mentioned before, I have not published anything. I wrote for the school paper in college, wrote an MA thesis, wrote a series of short plays for my students when I taught high school, and have about a dozen fictive works in progress of varying themes and genres. I have also written a number of notes/blog posts on a variety of subjects.
#FP: When did you know writing was for you?
JH: When I discovered that I could sculpt language.
#FP: What are you working on at this minute? What was the inspiration for it?
JH: A work in progress is something I’m calling “After the Gun.” It is a story set in America’s historical West, and I was motivated to write it when I realized that most Westerns end with/or focus on an iconic shooting. I wanted to know what happened after that.
#FP: Do you work to an outline or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you? Plotter or Pantser?
JH: I have never met an outline I liked.
#FP: How do you find #FP helps your writing?
JH: My job is to create writing prompts. So #FP is great practice for me. If the material I produce for my job doesn’t inspire writers, I’m not doing my job. So it is helpful for me to try out the prompts of others. To see what works and doesn’t work. Also, the limitations are very beneficial. There is always more that could be said, but the available words are not necessarily the right words. So the limitations of #FP can be very creatively constructive, helping me choose the right words.
#FP: What draws you to flash-fiction, to #FP? What do you love and hate about it?
JH: I love the challenge to create on the spot. That challenge draws me to flash-fiction and keeps me tweeting at #FP. The main drawback is that I don’t have time to do it every day, all day.
#FP: What inspires you most about writing?
JH: I am inspired by the opportunity to capture in words what someone has only previously felt, thought, hoped or dreamed.
#FP: Who are your writing inspirations? How do they influence your creativity?
JH: I read C.S. Lewis for the simple richness, Ernest Hemingway for economy, Madeleine L’Engle for characters in conflict, Jules Verne for wonder, Douglas Adams for insight, and so many more for so much more.
#FP: What is your favorite motivational phrase or musing on writing, and why?
JH: I honestly don’t have one. But if someone has said: “You should write what your mind won’t rest from saying,” I’d appreciate that. Because that is often what motivates me to write.
#FP: What is the hardest thing about writing for you?
JH: Finding the time. I want to give my wife and kids the love and attention they deserve. I also go to work. So unless I cut out sleep entirely…
#FP: What do you tell yourself every time it gets hard? Every time the stars stop aligning? What do you do when writer’s block knocks on your creative door?
JH: I am thankful to say that writer’s block has not been a significant problem. When I do struggle to create, I find that reading the work of others I value is very motivating.
#FP: Do you have any secret and wacky writing rituals that help the words flow?
JH: How much coffee do you have to drink before “secret and wacky” can be applied to your behavior?
#FP: What advice would you give to aspiring writers and poets, anyone who wants to free the art within? What helped you make it to this point?
JH: Everyone has the ability to be creative. Even if all you do, to begin with, is to emulate the work of those that you admire. So don’t count yourself out before you’ve tried. And once you do try, don’t stop. And when you think you’re done, start again. You can stop when you’re dead.
#FP: What genres do you find yourself most drawn to? In your books and in your #FP’s?
JH: I’m drawn to characters – to their interactions – and to the scene that makes you say, “I’ve been there,” “I’d like to be there,” or, “keep me from that at all costs.”
#FP: How can readers discover more about you and you work? https://www.facebook.com/JDHaveman/
Wattpad – JDHaveman
Across the Sea
“I’m sending it now,” he promised. “You’ll see it in just a few minutes.”
She put the phone down and walked to the window. The sky was already gray. She walked back across the apartment and into the kitchen.
“It’s coming,” she giggled into the avocado-green receiver, “You’re right.”
“Of course I’m right. I sent it. You get it. It works every time.”
“Hold on, I’m going to go look again,” she warned him.
He sat listening for her across continents and oceans. From his apartment just off the Caspian sea he could hear the noises of the city below and the neighbors above him. But he couldn’t hear her. Not yet. He strained his head against the phone though and tried. He tried to hear her stocking feet as they ran back from the big warehouse windows that graced the east side of their New York loft. He tried to be there, through the phone, waiting for her when she returned. Not just his voice, but him: really, truly, physically there. It didn’t work.
He thought he heard another giggle though. Delight. And then,
“It’s coming up. I can see it. It just set by you and now it’s coming up by me.”
“That’s right, baby, I may not be there, but at least I can give you the sun.”
“You’re a cheeseball.”
He laughed. She was right.
“How long until you come home,” she demanded, already knowing the answer.”
“I don’t know.”
“How can you not know,” she shot back, all giggles gone.
He took his time to answer. What could he say? No answer would satisfy him or her. He had work to do. He could tell her that. He had very, very, very important work to do. He could tell her that. He was working for her, on her behalf, in order to give them the best possible life together. He had told her that. But it wasn’t good enough. She needed him home. He needed to be home. But it wasn’t going to happen today. And though it really could happen at any moment, no time in the immediate future seemed likely.
“Well,” she barked.
“I love you,” he tried.
“Then come home to me,” she pleaded. “Come home now.”
“Come home soon.” She cried.
“Don’t cry,” he asked through tears. “I sent you the sun. I send it every day. Every day you wake up, it will be there. Every time you look up, it will be there. I’ve given you the sun and it will keep you warm. Go look. I bet you can see it really well now.”
She didn’t put down the phone this time, but walked out into the main room with the cord trailing behind her. She stretched it to the max and got to where she could just see glints of new-day glory through the skyline.
“It’s here,” she confirmed. “The light is everywhere now. Just like you promised.” But her heart was flat now.
“Good. Now get dressed, and go out for a walk in it. Revel in it. Dance in the sun, sing in the sun and shout in sun. And when you’re done, send it back to me.”
“Don’t say that,” she grumbled. “Don’t tell me to do those things when you aren’t here.”
“But that’s the point,” he smiled, hoping she could feel it. “I want you to do those things in the light of the sun because I can’t be there with you. When we’re together again, we’ll do them together. But if I can give you the light right now, use it.”
It was her turn to be silent. She sat on the floor and watched her light-gift find its way up the far wall. It was beautiful. It did make her want to dance.
“Are you still there,” he asked after a minute. “I can’t hear you.”
“What about the rainy days,” she answered after another minute. “Where will this sun of yours be when it’s raining and the world is wet and gross and cold? What then?”
“That’s the amazing thing about the sun,” he promised her, “even when you don’t see him, he’s there. Even when it is wet and gross, the sun is there behind the clouds. He is there waiting for the exact moment when the clouds move to shine out again. And he’s going to seem bigger and brighter after every storm you’ve spent looking for him.”
“Why is that?”
“Because when the rain comes, you’ll see how much you need him. You’ll see how much you miss him when it’s dark, and you’ll appreciate his being there so much more when the light returns.”
“Are you talking about the sun, or you, or us?”
They were silent then again, together.
And then, “I need to go now,” he reminded them.
“Do you promise me you’ll come home as soon as it’s possible?”
“Annie, I love you more than I will ever be able to put into words. I will keep trying to put it into words, though. And I will keep trying to show you exactly how much I love you every day.”
“By coming home as soon as you can?”
“By working every day, and coming home as soon as I can. I promise. Do you promise to dance in the sun?”
“I’ll dance. A little. I guess.”
“Dance a lot. And sing a lot. I love it when you sing.”
“I love you.”
“Now who’s the cheeseball?”
“I love you, Annie.”
“I know. And you know I love you.”
“I do. Now get dressed, go to work, and be amazing.”
“Get some sleep. I’ll call you when I wake up tomorrow.”
“I’ll be waiting.”
And he was. Eagerly.