Thursday, May 19, 2005

"Permission is hereby Granted" I love you, Mr. King.

Last week, I finished up Stephen King's ON WRITING. This is, hands down, one of the best books I've ever read. I'm a huge King fan, in so much as I rarely read anything else. That's why, as recently as just a year ago, I had no idea who Sandra Brown or Linda Howard were, and now that thought is simply laughable.

I marked several passages in this book to go back later and think on after I'd finished the book as a whole. And I found one thing marked more than others:

If you're familiar with Brenda Bradshaw at ALL, you know already that I'm pulled in a billion different directions. Craft stuff I'm selling to earn money for Nationals, I own message boards that I've been neglecting as of late, I'm on 43 email writing loops, I have the blog, plus I'm inhaling books on the craft of writing as fast as I can, AND reading my line. Toss in that mix a 3200 sq foot house that I can't keep clean to save my life, a husband that's passive agressive about my writing, and four kids, two cats, a dog and a rat, we're lucky my medical cocktail is as simple as it is (and that explains the Xanax, doesn't it?) So then I stumbled upon this line from Stephen King:

"Talent renders the whole idea of rehearseal meaningless; when you find something at which you are talented, you do it (whatever it is) until your fingers bleed or your eyes are ready to fall out of your head....The sort of strenuous reading and writing program I advocate - four to six hours a day, every day - will not seem strenuous if you really enjoy doing these things and have an aptitude for them...If you feel you need permission to do all the reading and writing your little heart desires, however, consider it hereby granted by yours truly."

I damn near almost cried reading this. Stephen King was giving me PERMISSION to do what I've always known I could do: write. And seriously, who is B to argue with Mr. King? S.K. doesn't even KNOW me, yet he understands me better than my own husband. He understands a writer's soul. And as you other writers out there know, that's a rare thing to find outside the writing world.

Then, further in the book, I found this one and marked it:
"Still, do you need someone to make you a paper badge with the word WRITER on it before you can believe you are one? God, I hope not."

I felt instant guilt. I felt like a scolded child when the teacher calls you on the carpet. Yes, I DO need that badge. Just like I DO need permission. I can't give it to myself quite yet. So I grab onto his words written in 1999. I grab onto his telepathy, as he described this book in the beginning. He wrote it before I knew I'd write. He wrote it knowing I was going to need it. He's proven his theory absolutely 100% true me.

I'll argue with B. But I will not have the audicity to argue with Stephen King when his telepathic message is finally reaching my brain.

So off to work, to write, to enjoy my talent. Thank you, Mr. King, with every ounce of my being.


Kelly said...

I loved this book too. There was a lot in it that just rang so true I sat there shaking my head. It's funny how, despite the different genres we write in, how there seems a commonality in the experiences each writer goes through. Makes it feel a little less like a solitary pursuit and a little more like a global community.

Brenda Bradshaw said...

VERY well said, Kelly!

ann said...

Just goes to show how wise Mainers are :)

Nic said...

Brenbabe, great post today!

Emma Sinclair said...

As far as I'm concerned On Writing is the best craft book ever written. I try to reread it at least once a year.