Deeply into reading the actual “on writing” part of Stephen King’s On Writing, and sucking the text right off the pages. Only a light tracery--gray pictographs--remains on the pages. This book, unlike his fiction (not to my taste), is as true and insightful as everyone has claimed--about life as much as writing.
First, his ideas--character-driven stories, limited descriptions, honesty, honesty! and so much more--resonate with what I at least attempted to achieve in my first book (within the nonfiction context). Second, he is pulling me out of what I have come to see as my ongoing road-blocking dilemma: being stuck plotting the new book to a fixed ending. That is to say, that I have a philosophy I have been trying to preach and prove. But that's not life—and it is certainly not my life when I’m honest. Honesty! Witness my just completed, weeklong, depression/anxiety fit that hit hardest when I attempted to write. Driven instead to wrink-wrink obsessing on Roomaticus Maximus instead of working on my manuscript.
Truth is, I must write my story of dealing with bipolar disorder like the suspense novel life actually is--and I must trust. Trust the ending to reveal itself, whether it is the ending I think I want and will reach, or not. After all, embedded in this disorder is the tease of never really knowing what is real and what is not. I don’t mean hallucination, but that subtle thing we perceive in the world and must always be interpreting in order to navigate the waters.
I end here with a bit more of King and his devil-may-care attitude and refusal to apologize for it or himself. Well, maybe he does occasionally apologize, but really, he’s like that Key West waitress of my long-ago-days who would pout, look you in the eye, and exclaim, “Read these lips!” as she tapped the toe of her little red fuck-me pump. Two descriptions King quotes from other people’s writing— “Darker than a carload of assholes.” (George Higgins) and (Raymond Chandler) “I lit a cigarette that tasted like a plumber’s handkerchief.”
Been there, done that.