Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Steven King, On Writing.

I just recently finished Steven King's latest, and it's a collection of . . . I'll call them novellas. The title of the collection is,"Full Dark, No Stars." There are three brilliant and very dark tales, there. Each one would make for a fascinating full length movie. (As long as one is not a King Hater,) I fully recommend the book. Anyway there is this great line about writing, in the afterword.

Granted, he was thinking about fiction writing, but I think it is applicable to non fiction, as we live in a world where the bullshit that is being spewed is so prolific and so constant, that is it not only killing the culture, but it is affecting the well being of the Nation. I do not make that statement lightly. I really believe we are suffering as a Nation, on account of the bullshit. Anyway, here is the quote:

Writing fiction for money is a mug's game. And sure, truth is in the eye of the beholder. But when it comes to fiction, the writer's only responsibility is to look for the truth inside his own heart. It won't always be the reader's truth or the critic's truth, but as long as it's the writer's truth -- as long as he or she does not truckle, or hold out his or her hat to Fashion -- all is well. For writers who knowingly lie, for those who substitute unbelievable human behavior for the way people really act, I have nothing but contempt. Bad writing is more than a matter of shit syntax and faulty observation; bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do -- to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street.

(S. King. ,"Full Dark, No Stars," p. 366.)

I think that is a brilliant and very true observation, there. And as well I think it equally applies to non fiction, save the non fiction writer, particularly if engaged in something that is supposed to be journalism, has a greater obligation to find the object facts, and report near enough the objective truth. And if that means either not editorializing at all, or making it damn clear that one is opining and or arguing, then be damned clear about it. Yes. I am making something of an argument here about what some people call opinion journalism, or as I call it, advocacy (that's the lawyer in me coming out.) But even more so, I am arguing against candy assed, bullshit pseudo journalism.

That's what I mean, mostly, when I decry the amount of bullshit. And it's not just the journos or sorta journos. It's the politicians and the hacks. They are killing us. They are killing the Nation's ability to tell the truth from the bullshit. Not that we as a Nation were ever a nation of geniuses. But shit. Is there any wonder how now two decades into the age of Reality TV that the political discourse is so coarse and that the GOP is getting away with absolutely factually and historically dis proven ideas a policies?

I'll stop there. I've had my say.

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