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Encouragement from the Masters

by Jonathan 1 Comment
Calvin is hip, he knows what cooks.

Calvin is hip, he knows what cooks.

Every so often I can use a kick in the pants–a little shot of inspiration. I need to know that the masters of writing either struggled like I do or are willing to share what made writing easier for them. Just a little something to which I can cling.

John Steinbeck -Convey something from yourself to the reader. Oh yeah, it never gets any easier.

Ralph Waldo Emerson – Borrow Whitman’s barbaric yawp and get in there!

Ernest Hemingway – Lean & Mean.

Brenda Ueland – Be good to yourself – give yourself time and space. Be truthful.

Stephen King – Rewrite, revise, cut and tell the truth.

George R.R. Martin – audio interview that has a nice chunk in it about world building.

These are some of my faves. Who do you turn to when the chips are down and you’ve forgotten why you wanted to write in the first place?


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.