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Ken Honeywell

Ken Honeywell
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
March 20
Well Done Marketing
I'm in love with my wife; a writer and producer living in Indianapolis; partner at Well Done Marketing; founder of Tonic Ball, a benefit concert that's become one of the city's favorite annual events; co-founder of Second Story, a creative writing program for kids; a vegetarian; lead singer of Yoko Moment; a life-long New York Mets fan; a sucker for waltz time; crazy about Pernice Brothers; etc.


JULY 22, 2010 6:50AM

The Love That Killed My Writing Career

Rate: 28 Flag


Last year, as I was watching the run-up to the release of the Beatles Rock Band and the box sets of Beatles CDs, I remembered that, years ago, I had sold a story to an online fiction magazine about an alternate universe in which Yoko, not John, got the bullet. Although I remembered the story vaguely, I could not remember the name of the story--or, for that matter, the magazine to which I had sold it.

After a little digging, I found the trail. The story, called "Shot Rings Out," appeared early in 2002 in Ideomancer. It was, I think, the second story I ever sold--a little slipstream fantasy in which the Beatles were on a Ribfest tour with a different guitar player.

It was a nice beginning. I was working hard on my speculative fiction writing back in 2001 and 2002. I was starting to make a little name for myself. I'd been reviewed; I had "a fluid style reminiscent of William Gibson and Poppy Z. Brite if both had gone punky hipster." I sold stories in the U.S. and England and Australia. I felt a little like Kilgore Trout, Kurt Vonnegut's science fiction novelist whose work was always packed inside lurid covers. Here's a magazine in which one of my stories appeared. My story "My Huckleberry Friend" was the lead story in this magazine. The story did not feature either robots or fishing.

I was at the height of my writing prowess. And I was miserable.

I was trapped in a bad marriage. The loneliness was beginning to crush me. Writing was my only refuge. Writing science fiction let me create little worlds I could control: places where I was in charge of who lived and who died, who got happy and who stayed lonely and confused.

When I look back on those stories now, I remember how sad they were. Not that they were humorless. One of my favorite stories was about an intelligent gorilla who played for the Chicago Cubs; another was about an advertising man who had to get rid of his cloned surrogate because the damn thing kept having crises of conscience. But there was an overwhelming sadness in all of them, as if sadness were the true human condition.

Was I really that sad? Yes. So what happened?

I fell in love.

It's true. I fell in love, and it saved me, even while it ruined me as a writer of elegiac speculative fiction.

Suddenly, however, I could write love poems. I could express the wonder of being a man in his mid-forties encountering true love, perhaps for the first time ever.

Of course, as every working writer knows, the market for love poems is--well, perhaps you can sell them to greeting card companies if they're insipid enough. But I didn't care. I had an audience of one, and it was all I needed.

In the ensuing years, writing was always part of my life. I've always been a professional copywriter, so I've always written, almost every day. But I lost the desire to spin fictions out of my misery, because I simply wasn't miserable.

I'm still not miserable. I have a wonderful life. I remain convinced that I am one of those fortunate few who knows true love that lasts. In my infatuation, I used to tell My Beautiful Wife that I thought I was not only the luckiest man in the world, but the luckiest man in history.

I still believe that.

And I've chronicled some of what it felt like to be so unhappy, and to fall in love, as Frank Indiana. So It Was Cancer was a return to fiction writing after a long absence. It felt scary and liberating. And it is fiction. Even the parts that are emotionally true and resemble things that actually happened are filtered through a very flawed lens. The shit just didn't go down that way.

Now I'm writing again, but it's different. More balanced. Not so obsessive. But deeper--more emotionally resonant. I can risk exposing myself--my deepest fears, my darkest thoughts, my petty jealousies, all of me--because I know I am loved.

Love killed my writing career. Love has helped me find a new, deeper, richer writing voice. How lucky am I? 

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"Go, happy Honeywell, go!" From the fans in the stands.
Touch wood. And yes you are very lucky.
May we all lose our writing talents in such a is grand...
while i'm a novice writer myself, i completely understand the refuge that putting words on paper, i mean computer screens, provides. i'm glad you found happiness too..we need more of that in our lives, to be sure.
"Love killed my writing career." It didn't kill it, it just lifted it to a new and higher level. Your career is FAR from over. R-
Very lucky, indeed.
Hey, everyone. Thanks for reading. I just posted "Shot Rings Out" at Red Room. Click the link above if you want to read the slipstream stylings of a younger me.
Seems it was worth the trade-off--excellent, reading about your evolution.
I love the idea of a robot with a conscience working for a human (presumably without one or who is able to rationalize around it). Post it here and I'll read it, rate it and drag Clark over here to rate it, too.

Even if we don't like it, we'll rate it (won't we, Clark...WON'T WE!!)
I just read "Shot Rings Out." Nicely done. I disagree with the politics, of course, but that's a small thing. The idea and craftsmanship are inspired.
You know what? Your gain is . . . well, our gain. (So I feel even luckier! So there!!!)
Lucky indeed. And we are all the better for it.
this read as very human. r
To the objective viewer, it would appear that the Phoenix rising from the ashes is infinitely superior to the one that perished. Of course, that my just reflect my preference for really well-written fiction about life and love over anything that might even be editorially conflated with fishing robots.......
pretty damn lucky.

oh, and not that we're greedy, but give us more. and more and more.

~tapping foot. impatiently~
Very, very lucky indeed. And super-sweet, too. But remember, love poems aren't just for greeting cards. After all, Shakespeare did pretty well with his sonnets. (And speaking of sonnets, great smackdown, Ken!)
Whatever your name Ken/Frank, we are SO glad you are here, and so happy for you. Love rocks!
Well, of all the things that can derail a writer . . . this has gotta be the best case scenario.

BTW - just read "Shot Rings Out" . . . nice work, a good read (and yeah, a little sad, but still . . . )
I'd say that's a pretty good trade-off. Thing is you still ended up with both.

p.s. I think there might be some speculative fiction in you but that comes from a different place. Utopia, perhaps? ...
yup... lucky.
this: "The shit just didn't go down that way." made me smile because its that explanation all fiction writers have to give from time to time when people think we've lived those sad tales we tell.
Hey, all. Thanks for stopping by. It's also worth noting that I started writing this post in September of last year and put it away. I started writing Frank in October.
Maybe luck - or maybe the universe giving you what you deserved. Either way, lucky us because we get to read the results.
This touches a nerve. I'm afraid to say anything else, I'm afraid I'll jinx my blog. I'll get back to you on January 1, 2011.
Yes, you are one lucky man.