I’m going to spend the day taking a weedwacker to the rough draft of my new novel. While I’m attacking it, enjoy a few links to stories about writers and writing.
Stephen King believes in the individual; while his work battles what Steinbeck called “the screwball organizations which teach hatred and revenge to the ignorant and fearful people, using race or religion as the enemy,” he devotes a lot of pages to what Steinbeck likewise calls “the pleasant, benign, and interesting screwballs… poets in flowing robes, inventors of new religions…” without whom we would be “a duller nation.” King recognizes all of these screwballs as the real nobility of America. Often, they are teachers: in Insomnia, a character opines, “I think this country is full of geniuses, guys and gals so bright they make your average card-carrying MENSA member look like Fucko the Clown. And I think most of them are teachers, living and working in small-town obscurity because that’s the way they like it.”
That’s American Dream talk, but I think a lot of Americans have a person like this somewhere up in their family tree.
“At this time we have reason to believe the killings were gang-related and carried out by adherents of both the AP and Chicago styles, part of a vicious, bloody feud to establish control over the grammar and usage guidelines governing American English,” said FBI spokesman Paul Holstein, showing reporters graffiti tags in which the word “anti-social” had been corrected to read “antisocial.”
And you thought I was a grammar thug.
And The Stacks rounds up all of Elmore Leonard’s first lines.
“Chris Mankowski’s last day on the job, two in the afternoon, two hours to go, he got a call to dispose of a bomb.” —Freaky Deaky (1988)
That’s the first line from one of the best first chapters ever written in a crime novel.
After reading it, I need to get back to wordwacking.