an ounce of self-depreciation

I am REALLY enjoying doing a lot of reading this summer.  One of my greatest joys since forever is curling up with a good book.  I haven’t read a lot of fiction as an adult but in the past several years, I’ve returned to the fun of experiencing a good story unfold in text rather than moving pictures.

After finishing five such books in the past month and a half, I started On Writing by Stephen King.  I’d heard and read from several sources that it was well worth the read.  Having been introduced to Mr. King and his monsters by my step-mother Kay as a young teen, I was hesitant.  The Shining, Pet Sematary, and many others scared the crap out of me back then and led to many sleepless nights.  Nightmare city!  What was I thinking?!?  But what I’ve remembered as I’ve read this very different kind of work is that he is a great story-teller and really funny to boot. There is a lot to love (and learn from) in his writing: He tells good stories in a clear and engaging way.  And, for all his dark subject matter, it is always clear that evil is evil and good is good.  And the good almost always wins in the end, even in The Shining (which Joey was right to put in the freezer….shiver).

I read a passage last night that made me laugh out loud and then groan with shame.  He was describing his great habit of always having a book with him just in case.

“You just never know when you’ll want an escape hatch: mile-long lines at tollbooth plazas, the fifteen minutes you have to spend in the hall of some boring college building waiting for your advisor….the doctor’s office when the guy is running late…At such times I find a book vital.  If I have to spend time in purgatory before going to one place or the other, I guess I’ll be all right as long as there’s a lending library (if there is it’s probably stocked with nothing but novels by Danielle Steel and Chicken Soup books, ha-ha, joke’s on you, Steve” (On Writing, p. 104)

Ha ha ha…what kind of losers read Danielle Steel and…what a minute.  Hmm.  This reminded me.  As we celebrated Torey’s birthday in February, Kyle got out a big box of mementos.  We read sweet letters she’d written, laughed our heads off at a picture of our dog Sheba she’d drawn when she was 11, and read a bit of a mother’s journal I’d filled in when she was an infant.  There were blanks for popular music, current events, and personal things like favorite artists and authors.  No one was more surprised than me to see I’d proudly written Danielle Steel and somebody else in the author blank.  Now, it’s true that today I could not mention a single title by the queen of pulp fiction.  But I do remember reading a few back then.  So sue me.  And anyway, you should see the picture my daughter drew.  Oh, wait.  I have a copy right here.

Sheba AKA saber-toothed tiger


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