A local Detroit artist, Dwight Stackhouse, affectionately known as ‘Skip’ to friends and family, is a writer who has recently completed his first novel. His artistic vision involves people and embraces diversity in all aspects of life. “Writing is the evolution of my thoughts,” says Stackhouse, “but only the penultimate destination. If it does not get to the people, and ‘disturb‘ them, then it can be said that I have not succeeded. My pen will have missed its mark.” He has performed on stage, as an actor, in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Boston, New York, and France. The reviews of his stage work were described with encouraging superlatives like genius, gifted, and hidden treasure.
In 1979, while performing in JamesBaldwin‘s play The Amen Corner, he was introduced to the famous author, who saw much promise in this, then young, artist. Finding common ground in their shared philosophies on human rights, family history, religious backgrounds, and creative inspirations, Skip joined Baldwin’s staff as administrative assistant for three years and they became friends. He is the subject of one of Mr. Baldwin‘s poems, Song for Skip, published in his literary collection called Jimmy’s Blues. “There is no way to deny the guiding influence of the great James Baldwin,” Mr. Stackhouse says, “or his model for the telling of insightful truths. Jimmy would often say to’tell it like it is’. Although Mr. Stackhouse no longer has a passion for the stage, he has shown a similar aplomb with the pen.
All of Skip‘s writings come from a fundamental philosophy: ―we can be better than we are. The initial effort with this novel was to explain to himself and his sons what happened, he says. “They had a right to know. It became a ‘man in the mirror’ experience, which now, given the vision provided by that tyrannical mirror, will last the rest of my life. Luckily, I was able to see both men and know without equivocation, the difference.” It is his hope that the readers of this novel will find for themselves more productive ways to cope with grief, support one another, and that simply knowing one is not alone, as he believed he was, may be enough to facilitate that goal.
A writer of poetry, short stories, and songs for many years and having shared his work with many readers, Stackhouse was repeatedly told the work was of such quality that he should pursue publication. This novel is his first effort at doing so. At sixty-five years of age, he considers himself arriving late in the game, but is committed to getting more literary products to the public. He has also submitted much of his work for consideration of awards, fellowships, and literary recognition. His newest project involves a registration of romantic poetry called Forever My Heart…Desires, due out in the springl 2014, a collection described as “profoundly beautiful,” “deeply moving,” “hopelessly romantic in the traditional form of poetry,” and “brilliant in the ways of love.” “Honesty in art is key to real development,” Stackhouse says. “It is what separates real art from simple talent, from dilettantes and pure commercialism. It is in this way that the writing of this book launches my future work.”
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