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  • Writer's pictureElaine Marie Carnegie

My Writer’s Journey By Mark Kodama

Welcome our Guest Author this week on the Writer's Journey Blog, Mr. Mark Kodama shares his experience and insight.

When I was in college, I wrote my first short story. I dreamed of writing since taking an English literature course at Columbus Junior High School. Ms. Lamar, the teacher, read from the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and I thought one day I would like to write a book like that. So when my dog Charlie died when I was at the university I thought death was a subject I was ready to write about. I wrote the story out in long hand in my notebook.

I rewrote it again a week later and submitted it to the literary journal at my school. I never heard from the journal. About a year later, the journal posted another submission call for the upcoming year. The notice said they were interested in publishing short stories and poems of literary quality but “NO DEAD PET STORIES.”

I took a history of journalism course at the university. Professor Mike Emery had worked as a UPI reporter covering the 1968 Democratic Convention where Mayor Daley sent his police force in to control the convention. It resulted in pandemonium with Shirley McClain standing on her chair shouting “Fascists!”

After class, I asked Professor Emery how someone becomes a newspaper reporter. He advised me to call and apply to the editorial department. So I did and I was hired at the Los Angeles Daily News as a copy boy.

In those days, stories would come over the teletype machines and we would rip the rolls of stories, sort and then deliver them to the various departments of the newspaper. I covered high school football games for the sports section and wrote a few feature stories for the news department. To see my byline in print for the first time really was something special.

I wrote for the college paper and worked for various newspapers in Los Angeles and then in Barstow, California. I covered the city council, school board, police beat and courts, just about everything. I moved to Washington, DC to work for a trade newspaper for federal workers.

After 18 months in Washington, I left the newspaper business for greener pastures in the legal profession. After I graduated from law school, I began working as a trial lawyer for a defense firm then on my own as a personal injury lawyer.

All my life I have been telling and hearing stories about the community, friends and family members. I seem to be a magnet for stories.

About two years ago, I became sick and had to take time off from my legal practice. It was at this time I decided to try my hand at writing short stories in earnest.

Since that time, I wrote and submitted poems and short stories that have been published 150 times.

So this has been my journey so far. I hope at some time to write and publish a novel. And my dead pet story? Still unpublished!

Bio: Mark Kodama is a trial attorney and former newspaper reporter who lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and two sons. He is currently working on Las Vegas Tales, a work of philosophy, sugar-coated with meter and rhyme and told through stories.

More than 150 of his short stories, poems and essays have been published in anthologies, including those published by Black Hare Press, Clarendon Publishing House, Eerie River Publishing, Escaped Ink Press and Devil’s Party Press.

His stories and poems have appeared in the Academy of Hearts and Mind, Café Lit, Commuter Lit, Dastaan World Magazine, Dissident Voice, Jakob’s Horror Box, Literary Yard, Magazine of History and Fiction, Mercurial Stories, Potato Soup Journal, PPP Ezine, Spillwords, Tuck Magazine and World of Myths Magazine.

His stories and poems appear in Apocalypse, Blaze, Cadence, Unravel, Dragon Bone Soup, Enigma, Hate, Tall Tales and Short Stories, Gleam, Fireburst, Latin Anthology, Maelstrom, Pride, Tempest and What Sort of Fuckery Is This?

“Land of the Pharaohs” won Story of the Month at World of Myths and “The Summer Camp “ will appear in the Best of Potato Soup Journal.

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