By Stephen King – Too snooty to read Stephen King for a long time, I was finally won over when a friend wouldn’t stop talking about 11-22-63, the audio version of which mesmerized me. Now I’ve taken the advice of a writing buddy and read this volume. It’s less a handbook of “how to” write a book—that is, put words on the page—and more “how to be” a writer, the habits of mind and body that are needed. The first section is a short autobiography, exploring the path King took to becoming a writer and some of the experiences that shaped his particular sensibility.
The second section discusses the writer’s toolbox (more on that another time), and a third section discusses the terrible 1999 accident that nearly killed him, when a van struck him as he took his daily four-mile walk. That section is called “On Living.” At the time of the accident, this book was only about half-finished, and the accident and long healing process naturally caused him to reconsider what he had written and what he meant by it. In the end, he says, the best part of the book, perhaps, “is a permission slip: you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.” It’s a good read, and creative people—writers, especially—will, I think, find it engaging and helpful in many ways.