Sometimes, sitting down to write these posts is kind of like entering a confessional.
I’ll admit it, I’m a wordsmith – always have been. My fascination with words, their construction and derivatives etc, can be traced all the way back to the days of learning the alphabet from flash cards at the Haulgh County Primary School in Bolton, Lancashire, in the early 60’s. Oh my God, that was so long ago!
Later, I became a huge fan of the colour-coded SRA Cards – each being a test of reading ability and comprehension. These were the tools of education and learning, but for me, they were something else. For a young boy seeking every opportunity to escape the horrors of the world that surrounded him, when the SRA box came out, I was instantly transported to my happy place.
Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”was required high-school reading in 1971. This was the first time I recall reading beyond the story and seeing the cleverness of the writer. I left school a few years later and read “The Lord Of The Rings” while sitting on a train, doing a daily 2-hour commute to and from work. At the time I believed Tolkien’s skill, particularly in the first few chapters, was a continuation of where he left off in “The Hobbit”. However, from the commencement of Frodo’s journey, Tolkien’s maturity as a writer and the application of his skill went through the roof. From Bombadil right through to the end, I was captivated not only by the story, but by the obvious shifts in the writer’s ability.
I discovered King in my late teens and having not long emerged from a particularly dark place myself, immediately found myself drawn to his chosen genre. Stephen is another writer who, like Tolkien, shows a constant shift in his level of maturity as a writer. When you look a little deeper into the works of both men, it’s very difficult to reconcile that what they offer up later in their careers was written by the same hand that delivered their earlier works – such is the change in their abilities as writers as they honed their craft.
The changes they achieved are the same changes I aspire to. With each novel, each chapter and even each page, I try to do better than I did the day before and I can only hope my level of maturity as a writer emulates theirs.
I like to play when I write. I like to play with my characters and play with the emotions of my loyal reader. I like to write the kind of character you might hate one minute, but then when you turn the page, suddenly find yourself cheering for them and championing their cause. And then, on the very next page, you might find yourself hating them again – because I try to make my characters a true and realistic reflection of the people you meet in everyday life. They’re your friends, then they’re not your friends, and then they’re your friends again.
Back to wordsmithing… I enjoy resurrecting old classics, dusting them off and breathing new life into them. Today, for instance, I used the word ‘pugilist’, and recently, words like ‘shenanigans’, ‘gormless’ and ‘cretin’ have all had a run. It’s my way of injecting a humorous aspect into my writing, although taken in context, you might never know.
It’s getting late and I’m bordering on somnambulistic, and on that note…
GG… over and out!