RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Golden Globe award winners may be reading work by a Rio Rancho author right now.
Ben White, a 12-year-resident of Rio Rancho, had his novella “The Cuban” published among the works in an anthology, which was selected to be distributed in some of the swag bags at the 76th Golden Globe awards in January.
His novella poem, or “poetvella,” as White likes to call it, was published by Running Wild Press in October in the anthology entitled “Running Wild Anthology of Novellas, Vol. 2, Part 1.”
The news that his story was being shared with such prominent people in Hollywood came as a surprise to White.
“You don’t really know the full scope of that until you sit back and think about who’s going to (receive it). It’s a really creative region in Hollywood — these are the people who work in Hollywood — so it was rewarding and a great surprise,” he said.
According to White, to get the anthology into the swag bags, Running Wild Press editor Lisa Kastner contacted some people she knew and they agreed to share the books in the bags. The books were distributed to 50 Golden Globe nominees and presenters.
White’s novella chronicles the journey of a young man in a prison camp in World War II and follows the character from his liberation, through his travels and encounters from the 1940s until 2015, when the character retells his story at 95 years old.
The character not only witnesses many events in history, but also picks up different languages throughout the world, from Russian to German to Spanish, among others.
For White, his historical fiction novella asks the question, “How do you fit in the world with language and identity?”
The novella is structured in 127 parts with five stanzas each for a total of 85 pages. It took White three weeks to complete.
White said his journey has been one of rejections. In these past two years, he has had 131 of them.
“The publishing world is a hard garden to plant anything in,” he said, “but it’s always rewarding to see a piece picked up for publication, no doubt.”
White said there have been moments when his writing has surprised people because of his varied background.
“I don’t think people expect me — a college athlete, a baseball coach (at Del Norte High School from 2009-18) and a 22-year military veteran to be able to take a handful of words they have selected and write a poem for them … usually within five to 10 minutes,” White said. “It’s kind of showing off, but it’s a talent I hide otherwise, letting the work stand for itself. Nietzsche said writers ‘prefer to be understood rather than admired.'”
White currently teaches business administration full time at Central New Mexico Community College and writes in his free time.
He said he has a different outlook on what being an author means.
“I don’t see ‘author’ as a profession as much as it is an identity … Even if I didn’t write, I would have the stories,” White said.