My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Sunday, February 8

Writers and Writing

Today I’m going to write about writing. Odd subject, you say? What can one possibly say about writing that hasn’t already been said? We’re now in an age when more people are talking than writing. I guess if you consider texting as writing there are still a bunch of folks who write, but I don’t consider texting as any more than silly teeny tiny talk. Writing is what people used to do in letters and essays and short stories and novels, putting words on paper for other people to read. Most who then wrote did so because they wanted someone to read their words, listen to their ideas, maybe comment on what was written, maybe even pay them for what they wrote. Did anyone ever write simply for the sake of putting ideas on paper without expecting any audience? Henry David Thoreau could be one, but even he might have thought his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson would give him a look, maybe a few others in their transcendental group. I’m sure there must have been some who wrote in diaries solely for private perusal. Samuel Pepys in the 17th century put his diary entries into a current kind of shorthand called tachygraphy which many later thought may have been his attempt to keep what he said strictly private. Or maybe he really wanted someone someday to translate his words. Which we did, finding it an invaluable picture of life in London in Pepys’ day. Emily Dickinson wrote thousands of poems, only a few of which she shared with friends and correspondents. Did she never want us to share “Hope is the thing with feathers— / That perches in the soul” or to puzzle over “Wild Nights—Wild Nights! / Were I with thee / Wild Nights should be / Our luxury!” or to exult in “A word is dead / When it is said / Some say. / I say it just / Begins to live / That day”? There must be others, but I can’t think of any. Most of us commit words to paper because we want someone to read them. It’s an egotistical endeavor. We live and then we die, and for most of us the only words that point to our existence are the cryptic words carved on our headstones. “Here lies one whose name was writ in water.” John Keats, who died very young, was probably despondent because he thought no one would ever recognize what he had written. He borrowed these words and personalized them for what his grave would say, and how ironic that his words and his name were written not in water but in books that will be around forever.
Some are driven to write. I include myself in that category. Our lives are shaped by the amount of time we spend with pen and paper, or, much more likely today, sitting with keyboard and word processor, putting thoughts on paper or hard drive. That’s what I’m doing right now. That’s what successful writers (those who actually make money at their craft) do. And some of them who have already made more money than they can ever spend continue to write daily until the day they die. They’re driven to write. In the past it was Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour, John D. MacDonald and Ed McBain (or Evan Hunter or Salvatore Lombino), Agatha Christie and Barbara Cartland. Today it would be Stephen King and Dean Koontz. These people all wrote and wrote and wrote, with little regard for how much money they could make. They wrote because they had to. And then we have James Patterson, who writes and writes and writes with any number of co-writers for the money. How in hell much money does any writer need? I want him to be driven, as am I and Grey and L’Amour and MacDonald and McBain and Christie and Cartland and King and Koontz. Forgive me for having put myself in the same category as those I’ve mentioned above (other than Patterson). But then, maybe no one is reading this.
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