Foolishly determined make their living creatively, Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin have written, edited, or contributed to more than 100 books and other publications. In addition to their own mainstream novels, their creative output includes Wim’s plays and poetry and Pat’s fiber art. For nearly 14 years, they lived in the Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende, where they established and ran a scholarship program for at-risk students under the auspices of the local chapter of PEN International. While in Mexico, they also adopted their daughter, Monserrat Perrin Coleman. Wim and Pat are now living in Carrboro, NC.
Earlier years … Pat grew up in Virginia and majored in English at college, then decided she’d like to teach visual art. After some years in the classroom, lots of exhibits of her artwork, an MA in Liberal Studies, and several years on a Shenandoah Valley “art-farm,” she finally went back to school and got an art degree—a Ph.D. in Art Theory and Criticism. When her new erudition led to nothing exciting, she drove to Los Angeles to work for Marilyn Ferguson’s Brain/Mind Bulletin newsletter.
Wim grew up in Iowa and earned degrees in Theater, Literature, and Education. He has worked in theater as an actor, director, scene shop foreman, and set designer. He’s an award-winning poet and a playwright whose plays have won national prizes and have been presented in New York and Los Angeles. He has also been an editor, a pizza cook, a waiter, and a bartender. He moved to Los Angeles, and one day he went to work for Marilyn Ferguson’s Brain/Mind Bulletin newsletter.
You can see where this is going. They met at Brain/Mind Bulletin, got married, and began writing books together. They still do. And they sometimes work separately—including the occasional poetry publication, dramatic production, or art exhibit.
Soon after the first publication of their first novel — The Jamais Vu Papers—a different publisher contracted another quirky experimental novel. But it turned out that the new publisher actually preferred a much more linear story that the authors mentioned as a movie idea— a story about a deadly consciousness change in characters whose only human relationships were carried on via computer. That publisher also insisted that a book must have just one author. So Terminal Games was published in 1994 in the U.S. and five foreign translations under the joint pseudonym Cole Perriman. The thriller was under film option for a couple of years and was discussed in works of literary criticism and courses on cybernetic identity—before it also went out of print.
By that time the major publishers had concluded that Wim and Pat’s fiction had “too many ideas” in it (as succinctly expressed by one marketing executive). In the following years, even as the couple has earned their living mostly by writing for educational publishers and various ghostwriting clients, their creative work has continued.
Says a character in one of our essays, “I think that the relationship of art to reality lies in the creative act itself. It’s not in the images or other results produced. The creation of images is part of the learning process, not something carried out after it.” Creativity is a topic we could (and often do) go on about. We think that self-expression is an overrated part of making art and stories.
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