I’m absolutely at war with myself. The problem is I’ve been reading when I should be writing…or cutting grass or weeding the garden. Actually, I’ve done them all. Anything to avoid writing. I did cut grass and weeded the garden and I’ve read Roy Blount Jr., Julia Reed, Rick Bragg, and James Lee Burke…it’s Burke’s fault…and Jeri Lynn Wolfe Cooper.
I didn’t know I had the desire to write until my former student, Jeri Lynn, put a bug in my ear…or up my butt. A burr under my saddle. A bee in my bonnet…any others? After twenty-five years we reconnected through another bane of my existence, social media. She was Lynn Wolfe thirty years ago…she’s Lynn Cooper now but I liked the way Jeri Lynn rolled off the tongue of my Southern brain back then. Still, do.
Wouldn’t you know it? She’s a writer. Anyway, my bad writing career is her fault. “You always told great stories…you should write them down.” I did…and try to force you to read them.
I studied other people’s writings, Lynn’s included. I say “Lynn’s included” because Lynn writes hot, romantic tales, something my wife says I know nothing about. “Honey, I’m just taking notes for later.” She didn’t buy it…I don’t guess I bought it either. ..but I still buy Lynn’s books.
Sometimes I have a hard time reconciling the sweet young woman who used to sit in my sociology class with the writer who pens scorching, passionate fiction. Really scorching, real quality. Her writing would be good even if it wasn’t sizzling. I can reconcile it after all.
It’s the way Lynn’s words flow and roll off the page, the way she creates vividly erotic scenes without being graphic, it’s her deeply painted descriptions of characters…my characters look like stick figures.
My excuse is that my last English class was over forty-five years ago. I’m having to learn on the run…jog…walk. The only creative writing course I took was exactly fifty years ago. I remember writing about the sex life of a door knob…it was the “free love” Sixties but a daunting task for an eighteen-year-old virgin. It’s all I remember about the course.
My writing experience involved forty-five years of creating lesson and practice plans with the occasional grocery list thrown in for good measure. So, I’m struggling, and the Thesaurus is not my friend. I’m in the “my writing sucks” frame of mind as I attempt to hammer out a thousand words…words someone might want to read. Hmmm, “If it doesn’t fit use a bigger hammer.” I don’t think that will work.
Since we seemed to have skipped spring this year, I picked up James Lee Burke’s latest to avoid the heat of the midday sun. I had finished my weeding, and my potatoes and tomatoes are doing quite well. I’m not going to say anything about my squash, I’m sure the squash bugs are listening and waiting to pounce.
Maybe I can get an idea, maybe I can learn something…maybe I can just enjoy Burke’s writing. I learned I can study a dictionary from now until death takes me and I’ll never ever have anything near James Lee Burke’s vocabulary. Should have picked up a “Dick and Jane” book instead. ”See Spot run….”
James Lee Burke writes about pain and he describes it in a way you feel the pain like an abscessed tooth. He writes about people and doesn’t just describe them, you become them. Their pain and suffering is your pain and suffering. He writes about the good and evil in man…sometimes contained in the same flawed person. He paints with a vivid brush. Oh, how I wish.
Okay back to the next great American novel…or I can wash my car. My car really needs washing…
If you are interested in hot, romantic short stories and novellas you might wish to drop by Lynn’s author’s page at https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Cooper/e/B00LPX4HGO
If you are interested in nonfiction or historical fiction you might try Don Miller’s page at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B018IT38GM
If you are interested in Don Miller writing romantic adventure as Lena Christenson, her page is at https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07B6BDD19 My beloved still wonders what I might know about romance. Well, I read books.
Image from https://allthatjazzblogdotcom.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/of-struggling-scribes-and-pain/