About Writing

When I am writing at my best, I am not a writer but a scribe, jotting down the things which I could not possibly describe, giving shape to things I couldn’t possibly know, and dreaming dreams I couldn’t possibly dream.

I will remain a stranger to myself until I write the thing down, until I caress its head, kiss its lips. Like lovers we’ll lie, holding back, testing limits, making threats, hoping the other can raise me from the depths.

What is writing like for you?


Originally from the northeast, I find myself currently residing in Oregon not too far from Portland or as it’s affectionately known, PDX. At the time of this writing, I’ve been here for a little over 8 years. I may be here for another a little over 8 years. Maybe not.

Current Work

Currently I’m working on a barrel of book ideas and a parade of poems. You’re probably going to tell me to not quit my day job after reading that. Unfortunately or not this is my day job. Occasionally I write short stories or engrossing contemplations of the navel, either mine or someone else’s, usually with an assortment of irreverent observations and a touch of snarky-ness for added spice.

Actually I do have 2 or 3 books in progress. One in the self-help genre and a couple in fiction. I’ll let you know more as I find out about them. Like you, I have to wait until the voices tell me what to write next.

Writing Likes

I like fiction of all kinds: Mysteries, thrillers, adventures, etc. Books about history is another passion.

Some of my favorite authors: Jean Auel, Steve Berry, Lee Child, Agatha Christie, Tom Clancy, Michael Connelly, Pat Conroy, Patricia Cornwell, Clive Cussler, Aurthur Conan Doyle, John Grisham, Greg Iles, Dean Koontz, David McCullough, James Patterson, Anne Rice, JRR Tolkien, Mark Twain, Eric Van Lustbader, Kurt Vonnegut (I’m sure there are a lot more but this will do for now)


Who knows the poetry of my heart better than I? No friend stranger does, and yet I am the stranger, almost always, until introductions are made. Will I recognize myself, my words, my meaning in years to come? Only in the long soul dream of gently stirring clouds.

Even though I write poetry, I have never really liked reading other people’s poetry. No offense to you or anyone intended. Honestly I write poetry for myself, as a healing balm, as a way to get clear, and as a way to stay sane. My poems allow me to lance the wounds and let out the poison that has its claws in my soul.

There is one exception. I like the poet, Sharon Olds. If you click the link to her website, you’ll see that it is a really terrible website. Sharon, what’s up with that? You’re too good to not have a better website. I know, I know, poets don’t get paid…jack. In any case I find Sharon Olds’ poetry tells it like it is,  gets down into the marrow of the story and  spares no pain in the telling, even her own, especially her own. Thank you, Sharon, for sharing your heartsong, warts and all.


I first started taking pictures as a little boy when my mother gave me a Kodak Instamatic. I photographed all of the classics such as friends, family, and places. There was also the unusual like the entrails of fish I had caught. No subject was sacred.

Since then a camera has always been in easy reach. In my travels I have photographed everything from Mayan ruins to modern cityscapes. I have a fond affection for landscapes and anything to do with water.

What photography is to me

Photography is the poetry of a moment. It is the art of listening deeply where even night can be coaxed to grudgingly reveal its secrets. Each blade of grass, ray of sun, and shadow traversing the earth has a story to tell. As the light changes new pages are written, chapters are added, and mysteries unfold.

My Other Job

VisualsSpeak LLC is a company that I am part owner of. Here we create facilitation products based on photographs and paintings to help people get into the meat of their stories, create visions for work and life, glue teams firmly together and an assortment of other things. Take a look

My business partner at VisualsSpeak and friend, Christine Martell, is also a painter. Check out her wonderful life affirming artwork at ChristineMartell.com. You’ll also see some of her paintings on my site.

What I Believe As A Writer

As a writer, I firmly believe in, and abide by, the tenets of writing you’ll find posted below.

The 12 Steps For Writers

  1. Admit that you are powerless over writing and that your life will never become manageable.
    • Admit that you’d rather write than: take your kid to little league, visit your parents, talk to your spouse, clean your house, take a shower, wipe yourself, be social in any way or have sex.
    • Admit that you have made up excuses to cancel dates because a character finally revealed herself to you.
    • Admit that you’d rather bite off a puppy’s tail than sacrifice your art or use a gerund inappropriately, whatever a gerund is.
    • Admit that you weren’t born with scoliosis; your back is messed up from too much time at the keyboard. Save that dramatic headline for the truly gullible.
    • Admit that you don’t care how many tears, false memories, suicide attempts or nervous breakdowns you cause your readers as long as they buy your books.
    • Let’s face it, you’ve got serious problems.
  2. Come to believe that writing is a power greater than yourself and that it will never restore you to sanity. You can deny this but your colleagues know different…

Go here to read more of The 12 Steps For Writers. Don’t forget to leave a snarky, irreverent comment.

Contact Me

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or just want to say hello, send me a note on my Contact Page.

Thanks for dropping by

Tom Tiernan