The Real Me? Who am I? I am about to “out” myself on a subject. It is because I came home from the bookstore with 3 different books earlier this week. They were all fiction! Putting this in writing is heavy stuff.
For years, I would never read fiction and secretly I looked down on the idea of it. Then for a few years I just didn’t admit that I was reading some. At first I just admitted that I liked Stephen King. I felt justified because obviously he was so much more than “just a fiction writer”. He, after all, wrote the book, “On Writing: A memoir of the Craft”. Then I admitted that I had read Louis L’Amour’s book, “Education of a Wandering Man” and that I loved it. Just that one only, after all it was his autobiography, and it discussed all of the intellectual books he read as a young man wandering the world.
Up to now I have not admitted that I have read John Grisham books? Well, I have actually read all of his books. A lot of them were about lawyers, so they of course were smart books.
One of the books I brought home this week was John Grisham’s, Ford Country. It is a book of short stories. I also bought Louis L’Amour’s book, “The empty Land”. Yes. is it just a Western. I might as well admit I have read several of his Westerns, and even listened to several of them on audio.
The third fiction book I bought was Stephen King’s book, “Under the Dome”. It is a big book. I think he put out two small ones, part one and two, but this is the whole thing. I didn’t watch this on TV and don’t know much about the plot so I am really looking forward to it.
Stephen King’s book 11/23/63 is on my list of top 10 best books. I just slipped it in to the list, even though it was fiction. It is so well done. It is about time travel and it is a fictional account of real events. It is just exciting to read.
My previous post on Fiction is titled “Fiction lets you see with others eyes”. The first line of the post says: “Fiction is a way to explore the parts of being human that we would never otherwise experience”.
So now it is out there. The real me. I don’t know what to say? The truth is I needed to get away from it all. I needed a diversion, and these books will take me away to somewhere that is good. I need them.
Do I feel ashamed? Maybe. No one will think I am an intellectual if I admit this stuff, but they are such good writers.
With confession behind me I am feeling ok but I want to mention something Stephen Kings said. He was asked why he spends months, even years, working on an opening line for his books. He said that he doesn’t think conceptually while he works on a first draft and he just writes. He added that one thing he was sure about was that an opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say, “Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this”. Spending a year or more thinking about what the best first line should be is clear as to its importance.
The John Grisham book I just admitted to buying, “Ford Country” had some critic’s comments on the first page. One by Pat Conroy said: “Ford Country is the best writing that John Grisham has ever done”. That is a big statement. That covers a lot of books and is a statement from a very successful writer. It made me anxious to find out why he said this.
Writing is an art. A little sentence at the front of a story has a big job to do. It has to get you to want to keep going. It needs to raise questions and interest. The story then needs to be interesting.
One writer I really like is Mary Karr. She writes memoir. In her book, “The Art of Memoir” she said: “Many a time in the course of doing memoirs, I have wished I were writing fiction. The temptation to invent had been very strong, particularly when I remember the substance of an event but not the particulars”.
I am glad I came out, "on fiction". The real me likes fiction