Sunday, July 29, 2012

SK This - SK That. Really?

Gawd. I'm so prickled from hearing writers say that his "On Writing" is the best book on writing they've ever read. Really, people? Oh, it's delightful reading and entertains like a night on a barstool, but the best? I think not.

Check out my list. (Yes, he is on it.) But have you read writing books by John Gardner? Brenda Ueland? Natalie Goldberg? How about Lajos Egri or Dorothea Brande or Anne Lamott? Does Flannery O'Connor ring a bell? Have you tried John Dufresne or Ralph Keyes or Bruno Bettleheim?

Not sure if some follow the piper because it's easy or if it's that SK has made a ridiculous amount of money telling scary stories (and he's definitely earned every copper penny) but there are others.

Others that wrote before the influence of tv, internet, iphones, and twitter. Long before translations were available on google translate in seconds and eons before forums were created, voicing less than noble opinions on What Makes A Book Great. These Others are those who thought. These Others sat alone, hour upon hour, month into year, to come up with the truths of life and the further agonizing chore of the assemblage of words in the hopes we would read between them and "get it". Then after they wrote they took the time to sit and figure out how they wrote and how they got into the character's mind and heart to show that humans are simply human. We act, think, dream, live, cry, love, anger, retaliate, pillage, rape, steal, and hate. And they show us why so we can understand ourselves and choose to be better humans, and to allow us self-reflection and maybe, just maybe, we can feel passionate enough to pen further and lead the human race to a kinder, more peaceful place.

Dear Fellow Writers ~ please, research these books. Research all that is out there. Read Pat Schneider and Wally Lamb and Robert Olin Butler and Margaret Atwood and Sylvia Plath and Susanna Kaysen. Don't just climb the highest tree. Reach for the limbs and branches along the way.

It's all in the details.

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