Douglas Fenn Wilson’s second love––after
the visual arts––is literature, fiction in particular.While
painting and sculpture remain his economic mainstays, he devotes
major blocks of time to writing. In 1989 he trekked to Ravello,
Italy for a year, where he began drafting his first novel Postumus
Lovers. Detailed historical research and commissioned works
of art made the going slow, but in 1992 he completed the book’s
first draft––1600 manuscript pages! With the guidance
of an editor and a New York literary agent, Wilson settled in
to edit. Over the next seven years (1993-2000) he completed
five revisions, each of which narrowed the book’s length
and historical breadth, and saw a major tightening of his prose.
While the book began its journey into the publishing jungle,
Wilson turned to short
fiction. He completed his first story in 1999 and every
year since has written at least two. Each of the stories uses
as a point of departure a favorite painting. Characters inanimate
in paint and canvas step briefly out of frames to revisit a
poignant life passage. A collection of ten stories, linked together
into a kind of gallery, is Wilson’s vision.
Of course a bigger story––a second novel loosely
built around the paintings of Winslow Homer––is
already taking shape in his mind, a project he hopes to get
underway in early 2006.
NOTE: While Postumus Lovers has not yet negotiated the
publishing world’s many hurtles and is not currently published,
it represents a full decade of work, seven of those years devoted
to full time writing––a book which may yet have
more about Wilson's novel.
more about Wilson's short fiction.