Tag Archives: favorite author

We are more than the person behind the curtain

What are writers, but mysterious figures behind the gargantuan stories they tell. For some like Shakespeare, they stay a mystery for readers hundreds of years after the stories were published. Others like Ray Bradbury step out into the world, live in the spotlight, revealing secrets of the trade to budding dreamers of the future.

A depiction of Charles Dickens giving a reading

One of the most terrifying and enjoyable aspects of being a writer is the interaction with our readers. It scares the wits out of writers because we are compelled to be loners. At the same time, the first hand experience of seeing the reader’s reaction is indescribable. Yet, for two bloggers the ability of a writer to be a performer is a heated debate.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2099962/Writers-performers-despite-preferring-avoid-limelight.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

The author of the link above defends the writer’s perspective wholeheartedly, while Amitav Ghosh disagrees. As Ghosh is a novelist/blogger, who is convinced the act of reading one’s work rips away the relationship between the reader and the book.

“The reader related in the first instance to a book, not to its writer; and writers, for their part, did not confront their audience directly in the manner of musicians, singers, actors and so on.”

The statement above made by Ghosh are powerful, but not necessarily true. Ghosh believes that the author is not meant to read his writing out loud, but simply write it only to retreat back behind the curtain. The author of the blog disagrees with the above statement because for centuries, writers have been the rockstars of the world. Not only novelists, but poets have an obligation to their writing to speak publicly.

Without the performance in front of the audience, poetry doesn’t have the power it could just read in silence.  Poetry almost solely relies on the use of sound and delivery to provide the emphasis in lieu of the extra words.  What Ghosh doesn’t appreciate about writing is the feel of the words on your lips. In addition to poetry, words flow in a beautiful way with prose. Hearing the one who created the story read it aloud is an experience that can’t be replaced.  As a long time reader, I have never had the opportunity to see my favorite authors read their work in public.

To me, it feels like I’m missing an entire part of the entertainment. Because as much as Ghosh and other authors would like to admit, stories are entertainment. They have been entertainment since the beginning of human history. Whether it is read from a printed book or spoken from memory, the author can bring the characters to life in a way no one else can. The author is the expert source on whatever he/she has written. There is no one else more qualified to bring the characters to life.  It is a privilege and a responsibility for a writer to express their excitement through a public performance.

I chose the picture of Dickens’ before I finished the article only to find that the article mentions Dickens as one of the proudest performers in writing history. He was working on his performance as he wrote the novels, creating the characters with his face. It is an amazing site to hear a poet read their writing or hear an excerpt from a novel you’ve read. The performance made is not just a money opportunity, but a responsibility to the give the story all of the potential it has. The reader deserves every possible viewpoint of the story, and nothing beats the author reading their proud work to you.

Don’t forget, the writers are not just the people behind the curtain.  They are the creators, the magic makers, the entertainers, the teachers, and the inspiration. Writers don’t just write the stories, they live them, and finally they pass the story on as if it were livelihood given to millions of loving children.

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The Author Near and Dear to My Bleeding Heart

The inspiration for a writer can come from many places, but a sure fire way to know why a writer writes can come from his or her favorite author. Upon looking at me or some of my writing, you would never guess I am a huge fan of  Stephen King, a master of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. His career has astounded me and given me hope for my career. He spent most of his life writing and doing at least two unrelated jobs to support his family. His short stories were published in magazines until 1973 when his first novel, Carrie, was published. It was then that his writing career became an ongoing one. He would continue to write novels, short stories, and collections for decades.

I first read King in high school. We read his novella Apt Pupil and Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.  I was immediately drawn to his ability to develop several main characters in extreme detail. From that point on, I vowed it would be my life’s goal to read everything he has written. So far, I have only made a small dent in the huge list of works he has written.

However, the books I have read encourage my own writing and keep my opinion of King positive. From his first, Carrie, to his most recent book, 11/22/63, King continues to surprise and horrify me.

For the haters, he doesn’t invoke shock and disgust lightly. There is a delicate nature that you must place horrifying terrible things. The fact remains that the readers of 2012 are not phased by gore and pain anymore. What would horrify and scare people 40 years ago when King was first publishing is not going to affect the readers of today. It’s sad that video games and action movies have made violence and killing more acceptable, but the horror King artfully places in his books is not appreciated by most of the public.

To me, there will always be a shock to what King writes because humans need to be shocked at what could possibly happen to them. Although his supernatural elements (time travel, magic, demons, ghosts) elevate the story to a different level, the underlying themes to his stories ring true in all of us. Kujo,  fighting for your life against a rabid animal. Under the Dome, minus the mysterious electrified dome, the fear of a town cut off from the rest of the world is a very real possibility. Those elements are what make King’s stories terrifying. They could in one way actually happen and that slice of reality neatly tucked in between vampires  scares the crap out of readers.

That’s what I love about him. He understand the human condition so well that he uses our worst fears or qualities against us. He reminds us that life is not all puppy dogs and rainbows. That bad things happen and only you can change the  outcome of a bad situation. Every story I read of his gives me the drive to create the world like in the Dark Tower series or focus on place as he does with his home state of Maine.

Although King has met criticism by many, he is revered and loved by more for his dedication to the craft. After reading his memoirs On Writing, I told myself I would be just like King. Writing every day until I die. The funny thing about writers is that we need to write to survive, and even in the face of almost death we still find a way to write. In 1999, King was hit by a van and subsequently decided he might retire. It was difficult for him to sit down to write and his energy wasn’t high.

Yet, a few months after finished physical therapy he was writing the memoirs I just previously mentioned. He has continued to grace the shelves virtual and physical with insightful stories of human life. I hope that he has many more ideas left to write because I don’t plan to stop reading him now. He has written over 50 novels under his name and Richard Bachman. He has published almost 10 collection and even some non-fiction.

King has and always will be my inspiration for writing. I will use him as encouragement, for advice, and a guide through the tough world of writing.

Have you read Stephen King? If so, what books? Did you like his stories, why or why not?

A collage of King's amazing works of art. Not my collection, but someone with a lot of money

Below is the list of books I have checked of my very long list:

Misery

Carrie

Black House

Cell

The Dark Half (most of it, had to return it to the library)

Gerald’s Game

Lisey’s Story (about half)

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Apt Pupil

Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption

Under the Dome

11/22/63


 

 

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