Monday, March 10, 2008

On Children and Self-Discovery

On p. 56 of ON WRITING, Stephen King says:

"We had two kids by the time we'd been married three years."

Wow. Yikes. I've had two kids for about three months now, and I can't imagine having done this in our first three years of marriage, let alone at the age that King and his wife did it. It just wasn't right for us. If there's something that we've done together that I'm most proud about, it might actually be the family planning that we've done, and are now done with. We had over seven years together, five of them married, to enjoy each other before the kids came along, and we've had them nearly four years apart. So far, it seems to be working out pretty well for the family, if not for our upkeep of the house and my writing. They sure do take up a lot of time, them kids.

This is one of the things that I love about King's ON WRITING. Fully one-third of the book is taken up by a curriculum vitae, a "making-of-a-writer" sort of memoir. It serves to help us better understand the author, which lays a groundwork for us to understand why he writes what he does, how he does it, and why. I don't want to go into too much detail about it. I really do want you to pick up the book. I think you'll like it.

This "CV" portion of the book, I think, is what makes King's book on writing unique. It recognizes that each person's makeup and process are unique. It successfully lays out the individual techniques and background of one person and allows you to make the choice if this is right for you. I'm not going to say he doesn't preach, because there's certainly some of that in there. But it's much more palatable coming from someone you just spent 90 pages getting to know.

I'm very much into self-knowledge. And I think that's part of what my writing is about, finding out things about myself through the content of the work, but also finding out things about myself through the process. It's not a revelation. The information comes in a bit at a time. But I'm still working at it.

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