Sunday, April 16, 2006

On On Writing


"There have been times when for me the act of writing has been a little act of faith, a spit in the eye of despair." --Stephen King, On Writing

Ah, my new guru, Stephen King. I just finished reading his best book ever, On Writing. The book is not so much of a how-to manual but a strong declairation of spirituality. There are loads of Golden Rules and Commandments like:

  • "I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops" (p 125)
  • "Plums diefy!" (p 121)
  • "The dictum in writing classes used to be "write what you know." Which sounds good, but what if you want to write about...a man who murders his wife and then tries to dispose of her body in a wood-chipper?" (p 158)

Your spirituality is what makes you you. Being a writer is every bit as spiritual as a Buddhist monk. It's the core of you--what you think of yourself as.

Why should spirituality be limited to religion? There's no limits to the human spirit, so why limit spirituality?

I've always thought of myself as a writer. And, as you can probably predict, I don't have a damn thing published (as in for pay).Writing has become an act of worship for me.I know not why I do it, I just do it. It's elusive, mind-boggling and soul-shattering. And here I am with a blog, stumbling ever onwards.

I had an 800 page manuscript when I lived in England. I not only wrote it, I illustrated quite a bitof it with cutouts from magazines as well as my own drawings. There was only one copy. Since I lived as a hermit in the woods, it was kinda hard to plug a Xerox into a tree.

So my ex hired an arsonist to burn my home down, including the only copy of the manuscript. Not that anyone could prove it, although everyone in the area knew they did it. Not that I'm bitter...

ANYWAY I thought that'd be the last piece of writing from me. Why pour six years of yourself into a work of art only to have it turn to ash in fifteen minutes?But I still write. Why do I bother?

Because I am a writer, and like a martyr or Holy Grail Knight, you do it even though you fully well know it'll all be for nothing.

And you couldn't care less.

1 comment:

M.R.Sherwood said...

Don't give up on writing! You may not have that 800 page manuscript, but I'm sure you can recapture the spirit and intent of it here and elsewhere.

I actually have a bunch or writing books and SK's book is one of the best by far! I love your perspective on it - I have to read that one again!