D. G Radford is mostly known publicly for his teaching career. One that has led him from teaching second graders to teaching junior and senior high school to undergraduates and graduate school students. He has played guitar most of his life but admits to being unusually average.
Radford credits his poetry with helping him keep his pen on the paper. He believes that eating an oyster is where both parties to the act are on equal footing.
He has four fine young men who allow him to call them sons. He is something of a Civil War buff mainly because the news today can be so disturbing he at least knows how that era turned out. He wishes he had put in more time and effort into coaching little league baseball and town league soccer.
The American author he admires most is Hemingway. Radford will cook you a savory meal and proceed to talk your head off. If you are not careful he will borrow every good idea you have ever had and make it his own. He splits his time between Falmouth Massachusetts and Venice Florida. On some level it had to do with bring a libra.
Around the sixth grade I was writing poems. I used poetry to push fragments of thought as if studying ideas under a microscope. One early effort involved arranging words to produce the sound of falling rain. It was during the sixth grade I seemed to find more resources on my personal dashboard. Up until then I was occupied with pleasing an outside world of parents and teachers or competing with emerging athletic competitors or adjusting to associated coaches. Writing became the space I could discover my thoughts free of someone else’s expectations. It opened up a welcomed space for me to meet me. Reliably though not always satisfactorily. A place far away from the demands of navigating the intense characters making up my family and school life.
By the nineth grade I had migrated to short stories. I could feel that the world around me was offering up endless stories in need of polishing. Also in need of capturing before the story wandered off into the maelstrom of nothingness. Mr. O’Regan was one of my greatest teachers. He taught History and assigned us a research paper which must focus on something current in our world whether local, national or global. I chose to write about a local cemetery and the reported incidents of ghosts appearing there. Through a few articles in our local newspaper, several interviews with the chief of police, eye witness accounts and historical research on the origins of the cemetery itself I managed to patch together a decent sophomore year research paper. Because I admired Mr. O’Regan so thoroughly I tried my very best. He loved the report and passed it around to a few of the faculty who also thought it was very well written and said so to me at different times and in different classes. This incident sealed my confidence as a writer and I continued to stay within this craft from then on.
Taking time to write is not the wholly private matter one might think. It opens up a community of characters uniquely populating each and everyone of us. I have given myself the time to be amongst them and learn so very much about their existence and my own. Why write? Because it is a portal into an actual dimension worth exploring while you can. All it takes is you and a word and then another.
Soup: my style of writing is soupy. I will rewrite before I’m finished with a piece, I will story board some, I’ll have characters write me letters, I’ll jump across chapters. I write on paper, computer screens and envelops. Eventually a Master copy develops. A body of work becomes a formal destination for new pages. Pages of writing that gained entry for one reason or another into the Master copy.
What gains entry? I like good dialog. Dialog has such immediacy. I will also try to show a part of the message through the setting. The environment surrounding the characters and action plays a part in who they are and what they do. A stylistic observation is that I like surprise. I like to slant the action of my characters or the situation and setting so that plausible outcomes are slightly twisted: possible but unexpected.
I make solid effort to bring the pages close to the reader. My narrator is not talking to the reader from a great distance in time or space. The narrator is right there on the page and at times actually attempting to converse directly with the reader. A point of style here would be I don’t lean into the narrator very much. I am attempting to show as much of what I have to say as possible and not direct or dictate any more than necessary. I don’t use an all knowing voice very much but as I’ve said before I do use every possible ploy to deliver a lively story. Most of my effort is made trying to get the reader to see and hear what my characters are saying. This stylistic technique is expected to draw the reader in and allow the reader to make up one’s own mind about what is being witnessed without the narrator telling the reader what to think or how to respond.
Word choice, the length of sentences, the use of sensory detail, these too are points when considering style. A word such as anticlinal would never make it into my final draft. I’d work it back to ‘sloping in the opposite direction’. Long winding river like sentences are rare in my work. I am more the staccato, bam, bam, bam sort of writer. I don’t believe the modern mind is compatible with expressions stretched to a mile in length. Strawberries dipped in white chocolate, or the salty char on a grilled steak can be used to connect to a reader’s sensory experience. Often the effort is not to push the story line but simply another means of having my reader experience something while on one of my pages.