Monday, February 1, 2010

Lost Writers

Good Afternoon Gentle Folk:

I have just finished reading the Blog of a man I admire, An Editor at a local Newspaper, a man who carefully assembles the parts of the English Language so well that he makes his living from so doing. He is also a man I consider to be a friend, although we have never met. This Gentleman, and I use the word advisedly, who encouraged me start writing (again). I say again, as I had more or less taken a sabbatical from writing, save for many dry, uninteresting technical reports, etc, that were part of my job as a Chemist , plus the fact that I felt I didn't have anything to say, and had absolutely no talent as a writer.

It is true that I tried to write when I was younger, but in common with many people, I found that I had a paucity of life experiences to write about, so I gave up on writing, and buckled down to the tedious task of making a living for my young, but growing, family.

But, although I didn't write, except in the course of my job, but I did read, voraciously. (and still do)

But enough about me, I was commenting about a post on the Blog written by my friend, and I realize that I am taking a point of privilege, to refer to him as such, but I have already explained that statement.

The excellent Blog I am referring to is: http://Exactly The author of this Blog uses it almost exclusively to instruct others the noble art of writing and the importance of correct usage of the English Language, and I am grateful for his efforts, as they have helped me a lot.

Today's Post on the above mentioned blog refers to the Death of J. D. Salinger, and the better known of his two books, "The Catcher in the Rye" This blogger states an opinion that I wholeheartedly echo i.e. that this is one of the most deadly boring books I have ever had the displeasure of reading.

I was, at the time of said reading, taking a College English Course, and was assigned this book to write an Essay on.(In High School they are called "Book Reports", but in College said reports are called "Essays", Analysis', thought on the Writer's theme or Motive, and so on, ad nauseum.

I read Catcher in the Rye, and hated it, so I read it again, trying desperately to find something in the book to build an Essay around,and about the only Statement I could come up with was, "I am saddened to report that I can find nothing to say complimentary about this Book, I wish I hadn't read it, and will try, earnestly to now forget that I have done so"

My instructor was more than a little displeased on my Essay, but was too cowardly to give me a bad grade on my effort , and in so doing followed her apparent method of doing her job, that of teaching, albiet poorly, what thousands of others before her,had done. Had I been grading the instructor on her assignments and ability to teach, in the main, I would have given her a F-, both on her choice of books to assign students to read, and her reasons for doing so, again, everone else does it!.

But I speak ill of the Dead, in that Mr. Salinger died last week, and his one Claim to Fame (the afore-mentioned book) is freshly being hailed in newspapers and magazines as one of the signal pieces of literature in American History, but I fall back on the words of one my Uncle's, who, after making an uncomplimentary remark on a Person freshly deceased, and being told that he shouldn't speak bad of the recently deceased chap, Said " Why?, I didn't like the Son-of-a-Bitch when he was alive, so why should I like him any better because he's dead?"

It has been only a few short months since the passing of one of the Finest Writers of Fiction I've ever read,and I speak of Mr. Tony Hillerman, who was given scant notice in the Media. Mr. Hillermans books not only entertained me, since I read both for escape and for education, and I shall miss having any more of his books to enrichen my life. Mr. Hillerman's books about the Native American people, I feel shall long endure, even not to the notice of the "Critics" of the media.I feel it is a travesty to give so much journalistic mention of J. D. Salinger, when writers such as Mr. Hillerman have contributed so much to modern american Literature.

Also, another writer of Notable Fiction passed away last week. Robert B. Parker, whose "Spenser" Novels more or less raised the bar on Crime Fiction, even though his last few books, I thought, were apparently written on a "Cookie-Cutter' basis, and suffered therefrom.

So, if my recommendation means anything, Be sure and read Tony Hillerman and Parker, especially his earlier Spenser Novels and his two or three Westerns, and skip Salinger, You will find it no unendurable loss.

Let us mourn those who deserve recognition, and forget about Mr. Salinger. The sooner the better.(note:-added later) As I frequently do, I posted this article without thinking it through, and as a result, it may sound a bit, just let me add one thing. When I say forget about Mr. Salinger, I could and should have said, perhaps remember Mr. Salinger for his ecctricity, and for the fact that he was an Author, but you will miss nothing if you fail to read his books.

Also I was (am) remiss, in not mentioning a couple of other writers who I think you will enjoy.

The first of these is an excellent writer, and to my knowledge, a good person, is James Lee Burke, whose books are always pleasing to this reader. And the same goes for Dean Koontz, who, while I have never met the man, I feel a certain kinship with, for he is a Dog Lover, as am I.

So, I have corrected my errors of omission (which I suspect happens frequently with we apprentice writers). Sorry, Please and Thank You



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