On Writing

For every book read, for every place traveled, for every person met, there is a new lense. And sometimes the improved vision is profound.

I read On Writing last week. Picked it up from the holds shelf at the library on Monday and read the last page on Saturday. Not since reading Spirit Controlled Temperament and finding myself in the chapter about the Melancholy have I so identified with the pages of a book.

On Writing is a book by Stephen King, the first half his life story, the second half a “how to” on writing. It is the newest addition to my “favorite books” list.

Does anyone else feel a sense of relief when they read about themselves in another person’s story? Or is that just me…

I found myself texting paragraphs of the book to my mom and a close friend, found myself reading whole passages aloud to my husband and saying, “Listen to this! I thought I was the only one! I’m not a freak, I’m a writer!”

Reading On Writing helped explain myself to myself. I am appreciating my new glasses immensely.

On Writing helped explain my connection to the idea of story. My first memory of being motivated by story was the September after the August I turned 14. I was not even a week into a five month stay in Germany and so homesick I could barely inhale. To this day I can clearly remember hanging up the phone, after a long tear-filled conversation with my parents, and deciding, unwaveringly, that I would stay.  Not because I had to, not even because I wanted to, but because I did not want the story to be that I flew to Germany to spend five months abroad only to return home a short time later due to homesickness. No way. I knew then, at 14 years old, that that was not the story I wanted to tell my kids someday. Story has been motivating me ever since.

On Writing also helped explain my endless journaling.(Even as a kid I journaled constantly. I found one the other day from 1997 where I had journaled every day for three months straight. And apparently I journaled every day of the five months I was in Germany. Who does that??)

It also helped explain why I write stories in my head all the time, whether I want to or not. (I used to believe everyone did this…now I understand this is not the case…)

On Writing helped me understand my obsession with books and my aversion to television (and honestly technology in general).

It clued me in on why I probably won the three writing contests I entered when I was a young’un at Rosewood Elementary. (At the time I thought it was pure luck. “How lucky that they drew my name out of the hat again!”)

It also gave me some extra insight on why I would rather stay home and read than go out with friends and why I would rather write a letter than talk on the phone.

Some of these things are also because I am an introvert, some because I am a melancholy. But filling in some of the gaps with the understanding that I also do these things because I am a writer, has been exhilarating.

I have found that the more I understand myself the better I am able to function with the tendencies I have been given.

On Writing clarified so many of my dreams and desires and cravings and motivations. On Writing helped explain myself to myself.

Have you found yourself in the pages of a book? If so, what did you find?

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