Thursday, May 30, 2013

...LM Alcott, Stephen King, and Me?

So, a while back, the writer Joe Hill was talking on Twitter about things that are foundational in your life. By that, he meant things that set your tastes. They might not be your favorites, but they set the tone of what you really like. He was talking about music, but this thinking could be applied to books, movies--anything, really, that takes a certain taste to enjoy.

Music was easy for me--my parents' love of Otis Redding made me love soul music, and worshipping anything my teenaged aunts liked gave me the Eagles and James Taylor (Particularly 'Fire and Rain'). To this day, though I love music in general and will give a listen to anything, my heart belongs to soul, blues, and the singer/songwriter genre. They were hardwired into my soul, so to speak.

Books, though... they were harder. I've read so many and started so young that I had to think hard about those. I finally decided that my foundational author was Louisa May Alcott. I loved (and still love) her stories. I was talking about all this to my mom, and she observed that she thought I'd choose Stephen King. During my many years at home she never had to read any of his books, because she heard each and every plot detail from me. I had to admit that she had a point--those late 70s early 80s books of his were lifesblood to me. I had to give that some thought.

What I discovered, though, is that Louisa and my beloved Mr. King co-exist in my heart because their writing styles aren't that different.

Stay with me here.

Both are straight-forward writers. They use plain language--nothing flowery about either one. They both have a knack for seeing people just as they are: not angels, not devils. Human. Their characters have faults aplenty, no matter how 'good' they might be, and not all of the people we root for make it to the end, or even conquer their own faults (I STILL get weepy over Dan in Jo's Boys). Maybe most importantly, they are both such moral writers, without moralizing. Their characters might have faults aplenty, as I've noted before, but damn if they don't keep on trying to do the right thing (People who've only seen Kubrick's The Shining and haven't read the book miss so much about Jack. The hotel might have conquered him at the end, but he kept fighting, and it was he who saved his family. *sniff*). They both tussle with God--Alcott eventually comes down on the side of God, but her churchgoing seems lukewarm. King's more ambivalent in tone but his stories clearly indicate a belief in God, if not in organized religion.

I look at this list and realize that writing like that is exactly what my soul craves. I can appreciate a clever book, a snarky tome, a sharp-witted, analytical treatise...but what I really want is someone who sits down and says, "Let me tell you a story..." and does it with heart and passion. And I also realize that is the kind of writing I'm passionate about producing: stories about real people, where many things in life ultimately turn out okay (because things do tend to do that), but not necessarily all things are perfect. Because life is like that, too.

What are your foundational books/writers/songs?


Friday May 31st, some of the writers of Omnific are having a Twitter Party! That's right, from 7-9pm EST (you can work out the time difference for your area, right?) many of Omnific's resident artistes will be on Twitter-hand to talk our books, other books you like, and just about anything else. There will be prizes, a scavenger hunt, and so much more! Our hashtag will be #OMNILICIOUS. I'm looking forward to 'meeting' some of you there!

Follow the links to the Authors blogs and collect the numbered letters for the secret word. As soon as you’ve worked out the word, enter the word and your twitter handle into the form. Entries are open from the day before the party and close at the end of the party when winners will be announced. 

My letter is:

Use the form below to let us know when you've identified the Scavenger Hunt word, and you can win one of four e-book packs--GOOD LUCK AND HAPPY HUNTING!

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