New book by Philip Kenney

The Writer's Crucible Meditations on Emotion, Being and Creativity

Phil Kenney

Philip Kenney is a practicing psychotherapist in Portland, Oregon. He did his post-graduate work in British Object Relations at the Washington D.C. School of Psychiatry and has taught Self Psychology as part of his private practice. A long time meditator and poet, Mr. Kenney is the author of the novel, Radiance, and a collection of poetry, Where Roses Bloom. He strives to bring together the worlds of psychology, creativity and spirituality in his work and is the author of a new book on those subjects entitled, The Writer's Crucible: Meditations on Emotion, Being and Creativity.

Philz Blog is Back!

January 7, 2015

Thanks to my good friend Jill for inspiring me to return to blogging after a hiatus of nearly eight months. Jill wrote to me that she missed reading Philz blog and that was music to my ears. Her comment was timely in that I had been missing writing to you and was entertaining some ideas of interest. So I’m glad to be back and curious what will pull at me in the coming year.DSC_0570

What have I been up to since the last posting just before we turned into 2014? Well, the first half of this year was largely spent helping my oldest son survive the spirit crunch that is the junior year of high school. What a load. The amount of homework seemed to border on sadism. He was psychically fried by the end of the year when you throw in SAT and ACT and college search. Can’t blame him for doubting if he wants more of the same in the years to come.

In my spare time I wrote another novel! It seems this one has some major flaws and it now sits on the shelf uncertain of its future. I can’t say whether it merits a complete rewrite, but, good or bad, the experience of writing it was wonderfully enlivening and emotionally satisfying. If I put it on a Paleo diet and it lost 20,000 words it would probably be just fine. Do I have the motivation to pull that off?

After completing the first draft of the novel, at the urging of a few writer friends, I began crafting a non-fiction book on the vulnerabilities writers and artists endure. This is a topic dear to my heart. In the last series of blogs I wrote a lot about the good enough self and this book will be, in large measure, an elaboration of that theme.

Turns out this book flew out of my being. I finished it up in early December and sent it out to my editor, Karen Karbo. Still waiting to hear from Karen, but I’m enthusiastic about getting it out to agents by early spring. I’ll give you some samplings in future blogs.

I continue to be amazed by the creative process. In particular, how small, daily efforts add up. My dear wife, Lori, is the one who got through to me on this. I’ll be forever grateful that I listened to her wisdom. I really don’t have much time in my day that is open for writing. I make lunches for the boys, walk the dog, work a full day, shop for food, walk the dog, talk to Lori, visit with the boys, fall asleep early. I’d say I rarely have more than an hour of uninterrupted time to sit down and write. And yet, three books in five years sit on my desk. And truly, I am nearly amnesiac as to how it came to be — ten minutes here, a scribbled note in the car, a clear thought in the middle of the night, half an hour of intense writing before the soccer game; a growing pressure inside, like a lava dome, building and asking for release onto paper, and voila, ten thousand words grow into twenty and forty. Forty thousand words! How did it happen?

Maybe the creative zone is a worm-hole into another dimension. Maybe. But by showing up every day, and wanting it, and wanting it a lot, stuff happens. You could call it mystical, or just a delightful play of consciousness. What ever we call it, for me, writing with urgency is the only way. Put me on an island with Gauguin and I’d be done. Too much time is a killer.

Late in May, the 31st to be exact, I turned 65 and joined my boomer brothers and sisters on the government Medicare roll. Wow, I’m still shaking me head about that factoid. Unfortunately, in late March I felt some chest pain and learned an abnormal EKG had earned me a visit to the hospital. Fortunately, the problem was minor and a well-placed stent in a minor, back alley artery was all I needed. All other arteries were real clean and I should be good to go.

Good to go without bacon that is. And considerably less butter as well. Without going Paleo, I’ve dropped a few pounds and I feel very good for the senior citizen that I am. Feeling very good and very vulnerable. Another layer of the veil stripped. The body says one thing, the spirit another. Which to listen to? Why not listen to both: the grim reaper whistling in the dark and the song of the eternal whispering in the heart.

And so, let’s give the wheel a turn and see where we end up. This round of blogging may be shorter and lighter, more speculative and less preachy. I hope they will speak to writers and artists, but I hope they will just speak plainly and find their way to curious and open ears. Here’s a sampling of what lies ahead:

  • The evolution of thumbs
  • Why Football?
  • Is punctuation dead?
  • Living to be 101
  • Does the human race suffer from PTSD?
  • The “Self-Project” and creativity
  • Time and creativity
  • Longing and art
  • Dogs and love

I plan on being less ambitious this year. A fair goal is a blog per month, perhaps two a month if the fire is burning. Please write to me when you read these pieces, I am interested in an exchange, and, the truth is, it can get lonely. Even better, sign up to receive Philz blog as it is published and I promise not to try and sell you anything!

You can check out the first official posting on the 10th when, “The Evolution of Thumbs,” will be available. Followed by a special edition posting on Super Bowl weekend entitled, “Why Football?” Dear friends,

Happy New Year to you, and, as always,



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One Response

  1. Heather says:

    Good to see you back!

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