I haven't been writing very much lately, for the blog or otherwise, but I have been reading. My mind is full of ideas but sometimes the problem is getting them out of my brain. One thing that helps though are the very books that I've been reading. They have mostly been from small press companies but don't think for an instant that impacts the quality of the writing. The few remaining large companies for the most part won't touch these kind of authors. Instead of playing it safe with their content and writing style they carve out their own niche and usually when they make a fan it's someone who fiercely believes in the content they put out. I'm going to list three authors and the book I read from them and then talk about the overall impact it's had on me.
Sean Carswell - Barney's Crew (Gorsky Press)
John Sheppard - Small Town Punk (Ig Pub)
Kevin Sampsell - A Common Pornography (Harper Perennial)
All three writers have different styles of writing but all three made me re-think about the so called rules of writing. They tend to keep the chapters short and always end them in a way to make me want to read just a few pages more. Eventually when I come up for air those few pages more have easily turned into fifty or sixty. Sampsell in particular writes small vignettes that are sometimes less than a page in length. They all write about characters who are at their best flawed people. Some are drunks or always on the lookout to obtain drugs, just going from one high to another. Some refuse to look life realistically. Some are only fooling themselves.
None of this would hold my interest though if the quality of the writing wasn't so high. The stories drew me in and kept my attention. The resulting effect was that I started to rethink the so called rules of writing. About what was acceptable, what qualified and once I started down that path I found myself awash in new ideas, things I never before would have considered. Now that I have found the challenge the only thing holding me back (besides time) is me. I am my own worst critic. Sometimes the criticism is warranted, sometimes not. It's okay to question yourself if your intention is to do the best that you can do, to a degree that is.
Another thing I have discovered is that it's okay to be yourself and by that I mean accepting yourself flaws and all. Coincidentally that means you have to accept others as they are as well. No matter how well intentioned you may be you need to stop judging others for failing to live up to the lofty standards that you hold dear, no matter how much you want to see them succeed. In the end it is up to the individual. Positive criticism is so much harder to give then negative criticism isn't it? Stp trying to convince others that things would be better if they did it your way instead of theirs. They will either choose to do something or they won't. It's that simple.
Sean Carswell, John Sheppard and Kevin Sampsell have all inspired and in a way challenged me. The only thing I have to do is answer that challenge and meet their creativity in my own manner. I have the ideas, now I just need to tell the stories. Either I will or I won't. It's up to me and whatever the result it's all okay. I'm going to do the best that I can. How's that for an idea?
Written and Published by Don Leach.
May not be used without permission from the author.