Hello dear readers, and welcome to the middle of the week. If you are feeling a little run down, if Friday is feeling a little too far away, I encourage you to check out Writer’s Quote Wednesday, a weekly event hosted by Colleen of Silver Threading and Ronovan of Ronovan Writes. My contribution for the week is from the American novelist Stephen King.
Stephen Edwin King was born on September 21, 1947, in Portland, Maine. When King was two years old, his father left the family under the pretense of “going to buy a pack of cigarettes”, leaving his mother to raise King and his adopted older brother, David, by herself, sometimes under great financial strain. The family moved to De Pere, Wisconsin, Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Stratford, Connecticut. When King was 11, the family returned to Durham, Maine, where his mother cared for her parents until their deaths. She then became a caregiver in a local residential facility for the mentally challenged.
Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, The Maine Campus. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level.
He met his wife Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men’s magazines.
Stephen made his first professional short story sale, The Glass Floor, to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men’s magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies. In 1973, King’s first novel Carrie was accepted by publishing house Doubleday. King had thrown an early draft of the novel into the trash after becoming discouraged with his progress writing about a teenage girl with psychic powers. His wife retrieved the manuscript and encouraged him to finish it. His advance for Carrie was $2,500; King’s paperback rights later earned $400,000
King has published 54 novels, including seven under the pen name Richard Bachman, and six non-fiction books, and sold more than 350 million copies. He has written nearly 200 short stories, most of which have been collected in book collections.
Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.
// Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
A few weeks ago I featured another Stephen King quote from his book On Writing on bravery and the act of writing. I was in need of a pep talk this week and took a look at that quote again and when I did I took notice of the line following it. It was exactly what I needed, a reminder that writing is a bit of beautiful magic that we all have access too. We can all take a bit of it and it will never be used up.
King’s half memoir, half how-to book really inspired me, and I think I may have to read it cover to cover again to internalize all over again its message. The message, at least in my opinion, is that writing is not at all as mysterious a process as other authors would have you believe. Writing is work, like any other job, and the more you do it the better you get. This applies to everyone and so long as you like what you are doing you can be a good writer too.
At first glance, this seems to remove all of the magic around the act of creativity. If it isn’t reserved for a special elite that is born with the talent and so are set apart from the rest of the masses, then writing is so special after all is it? No, no, no, there is still magic in it, it’s only a different kind, a more practical kind and within you grasp always.
Writing can connect people worlds away and across vast stretches of time. It can awaken hearts and minds and animate frozen emotion and imagination. In a world that is harsh and leaves us all disillusioned so early in life what could be more magical than that?
It is kind of neat to think that every time you write something, whenever you create a new would or endeavor to tell a truth about humanity you are welding magic. It is pretty amazing to think that you can change the world simply by writing down words. Go, work your own magic through words and never forget how lucky you and every other human being who wishes to are to be able to do it.
Be grateful for this magic, and learn to wield it well.
Original image via Unsplash