Two and a half years ago (has it really been that long?) I finished my B.A. at Master’s.
As is his endeared tradition, Dr. Simons – the head of the Communication department and the professor of many of my writing classes – gifted his graduating students with a piece or two of choice literature along with a fresh moleskin.
My gifts were Stephen King’s “On Writing” and Joan Didion’s “We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live.” I dove right in to Didion, having fallen in love with her the summer before when reading “The Year of Magical Thinking.” It took me a while to chug through her collection of essays, but mainly because of its density.
Meanwhile, I kept “On Writing” in my “to-read” stack but somehow never reached it until my husband picked it up last week to read it for the second time in the two year span that I’ve owned it. I wasn’t about to let him do that to me. So I stole it back and have read halfway through it since then.
And man, Stephen King is kicking my butt:
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”
“If God gives you something you can do, why in God’s name wouldn’t you do it?”
There goes every argument or excuse I’ve ever had or could conjole as to why I haven’t written anything of substance in months or finished reading a book in even longer.
Although it’s humbling (or rather, humiliating) to read, I am really appreciating the bluntness that King delivers, especially when he begins to explain his two theses in the third section of his book. One of King’s points being a daily lesson that Dr. Simons harped into his students: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” – King.
As simple as that is, time has shown that I cannot be reminded of it too often.
And to top it all off, I have a scribbled note from Dr. Simons on the front cover of my copy saying, simply, “Sarah, you could do it.”
I almost had to wipe away a few tears after reading that – but those I can blame on the pregnancy hormones.
I have a lot of work to do. And to start, I need to get back into shape so I can even do the work…