Month: April 2017

The Masters

Writers are a unique breed, in that they seek counsel and advice at every turn along their professional path. Books for writers sell like hotcakes, YouTube videos on the subject of writing, or its inspiration, often top the charts, and seminars, conferences, and speeches on the art can normally fill a room with those clamoring to learn more, or hear how to do it better.

I’m most intrigued with those of us who seek out the old masters for advice and wisdom, such as Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Margaret Mitchell, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clark, Isaac Asimov, Kurt Vonnegut, Jules Verne, J.R.R Tolkien, H.G. Wells, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Jack London, Agatha Christie, and, oh, so many more! Depending upon our chosen genres, there are certainly one or more of the preceding names whom writers consider godlike. Well, wait . . .  Does the age of the writer matter? Apparently so, because those mentioned had their masters, too.

Ernest Hemingway admired authors Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov, John Steinbeck prized the King Arthur stories written by Sir Thomas Malory, and H.G. Wells, who wrote what he termed “Scientific Romances” in the late-1800s (later coined Science Fiction), admired George Bernard Shaw to whom a great friendship formed. It is said that Jack London, later in his life, purchased plotlines from an as yet unpublished Sinclair Lewis, saying, “Well, I can’t construct plots worth a dam, but I can everlastingly elaborate.”

But what of today’s “old masters?” To name a few, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Nora Roberts, Johanna Lindsey, John Green, Nicholas Sparks, John Grisham, and again, oh, so many more! They had their masters, too. The great Mr. King once stated, “Without Ray Bradbury, there is no Stephen King.” Johanna Lindsey admires authors Kathleen E. Woodiness and Rosemary Rogers, saying they are the writers who started her genre. When author Nicholas Sparks was asked about his inspiration, he said, “I like to think part of my trademark is the quality of the storytelling, and that skill is owed in large part to reading everyone from Stephen King and John Grisham to Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck.” Ah, yes, the old masters! (Spark’s has a helpful writer section on his website at: http://nicholassparks.com/for-writers/ )

The masters before us affect us in many ways. Writers should take seriously the scrutiny of their final product, lest their footprints in the literary world be washed away by the next wave. Write a masterpiece, not just a novel to earn a dime! Use your talent the way the “Greats” before you have done. Write so that your name cannot be erased. Dare to become one of the masters.

ORIGINALLY POSTED AT: http://romanceninjas.com/smatterings-4-the-masters/

 

Smatterings – Peanuts and Jam

In this age of throwaway gadgets and modern technology, the art of good old elbow grease should not be dismissed so easily.

While growing up on our remote California farm, my father rarely, if ever, called a repairman for anything. First, we couldn’t afford one, and secondly, few existed in our small farming community. In fact, on top of everything else my father knew how to do, he became a self-taught television repairman. Back then, one didn’t just toss out the old TV and buy a new one—it just wasn’t practical. Everything from the toaster, to the television, to our washing machine was repaired until it couldn’t be, and then we usually went without for a long time. That’s where elbow grease paid off . . . we learned to fix things ourselves. And if the item was beyond repair, we found ourselves handwashing clothes, having bread for breakfast instead of toast, and reading books rather than watching television.

Although writers don’t usually need to print their manuscripts these days (most submissions are electronic), I still find myself printing pages, or editing notes, or other important things. So last week when my printer stopped dead in its tracks flashing “Paper Jam!” I didn’t panic. A paper jam is easy to fix. However, after a few hours of not finding a single scrap of paper while the printer kept insisting it had a jam, my frustration mounted. I just wanted to print my editing notes so that I could keep writing! I wrote less and less with my thoughts intensely focused on those missing notes.

A week passed with my intermittent bursts of hopeful repair work, all to no avail. So today, as I prepared to drive into town for the sole purpose of buying a new printer, I felt my father’s spiritual presence. I had to give it one more try. Now, two hours and several bits of smashed peanut later, my printer works like new–thanks Dad! With all the incredible technology today, it would have been very helpful if the printer had flashed “Peanut Jam!” instead. I’m just sayin’… Maybe the geniuses of the world are aiming too high.

I’ll admit, I will be rethinking eating peanuts at my desk from now on, or else I’ll keep the scavenging dogs out from under my desk where the printer works. Yes, I’m blaming it on the dogs for dropping that fugitive peanut into my printer.

All in all, I think it’s important to point out that elbow grease still works! Although I must admit, spending forty dollars on a new printer last week would have been much easier.

ORIGINALLY POSTED AT: http://romanceninjas.com/smatterings-3-peanuts-and-jam/ 

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén