John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck

In the last two weeks I’ve delved into The Grapes of Wrath (Steinbeck) and I Am Legend (Matheson). I am currently reading The Sun Also Rises (Hemingway). I can’t get enough. Back in high school, somewhere in the late 80’s, I was loathe to read the assigned books. I read a lot of Stephen King and Robert Ludlum. Those guys wove (and still weave in King’s case) great stories that resonated with me. I still read both authors today.

Looking back, I think I avoided the classics was because I couldn’t relate, because I had such a narrow view of the world. Also, the writing style was just different enough as to sit crookedly in my brain, making it difficult to concentrate on reading and comprehending.

What a joy to read these books for the first time and fall in love with the characters, the prose, the whole deal. I should probably thank my wife, a devout devourer of all manner of books, classic and otherwise. My good friends in Indiana deserve credit for my rediscovering Steinbeck. The gushed about The Grapes of Wrath and went so far as to push a worn copy into my hands. I love having a great reading network.

If you stumble across this post, let me know your thoughts on some classics. I’d love to hear them.

Word Proliferation

I just subscribed to Jay Lake’s blog and have to say that his ability to crank out words stunned me. I’m more of the 500-1500 words a day kind of guy. One of my favorite books on writing, Stephen King’s On Writing, although he usually shoots for 2000 words a day, he suggests first time writers shoot for about 1000 words a day. I used that as my model when I began writing my first novel this April.

Jay Lake is pumping out 4500 words in two hours. The man is an inspiration. Thanks Mr. Lake. You’ve provided impetus to get my ass back to the  laptop tonight and see what I can do.

In contrast, there’s Mr. James Joyce:

A friend reportedly once asked James Joyce how his work was going. “I got seven words today,” Joyce replied.
“But James, that’s good … at least for you,” said the friend.
“Perhaps … but I don’t know what order they go in!” he cried in despair.

Good times. That one always makes me chuckle.

Writing instead of writing

I am taking precious writing time to launch this blog. I forgot to string up the plastic triangular flags and the tinseled bunting, but that’s probably just as well. If I’m writing here, I’m probably not filling up pages of my story. My goal for these posts is brevity. So far, so good.

June 19, 2006 Update:

Just thought I should tag this link to author Robin Hobb’s blog rant. She hits it right on the head, yet here I am writing about it instead of writing. No really, I’m going now.