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Michael York types to the beat of his own keyboard

by Mark A. Curci

Michael York is a local writer with a lot on his plate. Already published at 24 years old, with a wife and job, and in the process of obtaining three degrees at Southern Oregon University, York just cuts to the chase.

"I don't really have a preference between poetry or prose," said York. "I just adapt what comes out of me. A lot of the time I'll take a piece of writing and expand it into an atmosphere for a script or a pilot. Starting with poetry and prose, for me, is working with the raw elements of creativity."

Through a sort of brutalized stream-of-consciousness, York likes to poke at his readers. "In a lot of ways, I take everyday society and put it in a Petri dish," said York. "Of course, like any writer, I do indulge or elaborate on certain aspects. My wife admitted that in the past (my writing) frightens her," said York. "My mom loves it. I haven't had the heart to show my writing to my grandparent's yet."

York cites much of previous inspiration as coming from an alienated youth and years of teen angst. "By no means is that my advice to young writers," said York, "but it certainly was a means to create an expansive world within which to write."

With an extensive background in theater, York also found a desire to write as a way to break into filmmaking. "I realized the cold, hard fact that the process to become a Hollywood actor these days is ridiculous. I knew I'd have to find another way to get into it," said York. He has already completed his first pilot and is partially through another.

York describes the things that lead him to Ashland as, "uncertainty, marriage and the SOU Theatre Arts department." This spring at the end of his seven years of higher education, York will have three degrees and a minor.

"I'll have BA's in Theatre and English, an Associate's of Applied Science degree in Technical Theatre and a minor in Creative Writing," said York.

Last spring, York found a publisher for his book, "A Fistful of Anger," relating his experiences while his wife, Sara, spent six months in France. "It demonstrates my mindset, a surreal mindset that I hadn't been in before," said York. "It's influenced a new plateau of my writing."

"I didn't do a lot of promoting or plugging the book," said York. "I saw it as a personal project that I decided to bring to the public. A lot of people fall out of place when they forget that everyone has a unique journey or voice. Through poetry and prose it is easier to connect to that central emotion--right to the soul."

"I'm a lot stronger than I give myself credit for," said York, reflecting on the lessons the introspection of writing has taught him. As he moves forward, projects just keep presenting themselves to him.

"I've had a few thoughts on making a collection of short stories. I've been looking back at "A Fistful of Anger," and thought about reflecting on the experience to see where I was then and compare it to where I'm at now." York is also roughly a hundred pages into a debut novel. "Simon's World."

Lately, York finds much inspiration at his job at Glasswear studios. "It's definitely influenced my writing. It's production work: you sit in front of a scalding torch and make a few hundred of the same thing. Lots of time to think, and a great way to completely be yourself."

York has also started dabbling in digital photography as a means to work on a personal life narrative. Nearing graduation, York experienced fear at leaving

nothing behind. "I'm trying to capture evidence that I existed for five years here."

"Some people have described my work as [Charles] Bukowski on acid," said York. "Others call me an enigma. Not a lot of people understand me, and I don't expect them to know how to. It's right to say that I march to the beat of my own drummer."