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Meet Ed Griffin, writer and teacher

posted May 28, 2012, 9:42 PM by Scott Seldon

This is the first post I'm hosting in the MK Blog Tour. Read and get to know Ed and follow the links to connect with him and follow his blog.

Ed Griffin: How I Got into Creative Writing

In 1983, at the age of forty-seven, I discovered creative writing. It changed my life. I would sit down at the typewriter after supper and follow my creative muse. Whole worlds opened to me. I wrote about the space behind my childhood garage where I practiced pitching and dreamed of reaching the major leagues. I wrote a short story about a group of prisoners on an island. I wrote a poem about getting along with the Russians. Hours passed. Suddenly, as I wrote, an alarm would ring in the house. My wife and I owned a commercial greenhouse outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a ma-and-pa operation. The alarm meant I hadn’t turned the heat on. I had to shut the door on the vibrant world that grew on the paper in front of me and hurry to the greenhouses to start the furnaces.

An hour later I’d be back at the typewriter. Type a sentence, stop, look at it, realize it wasn’t quite true and then search deeper, ever deeper. Layers of middle-aged half-truths disappeared, the comfortable maxims I had surrounded myself with – “Business is good. Don’t make any changes” and “Relax. You’re getting older.” The fires of my youth burned again – civil rights, world peace, a place in the sun for every person. I was a Catholic priest as a young man, filled with idealism. I marched in Selma with Doctor King, picketed local companies to give jobs to blacks, and confronted my own bishop over the church’s institutional racism.

As I wrote, I dug, I searched, always deeper, ever more honest. It might be easy to speak a lie, but it wasn’t easy to write one. I started to unravel the tangled skein that was me. What a wonderful gift this was.

Ed Griffin teaches creative writing in a federal penitentiary in Canada. He started the Surrey International Writers’ Conference and teaches writing in his hometown, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

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