Friday, November 10, 2006

To Read: Lisey's Story

A while back I mentioned an article on writing that Stephen King wrote for The Washington Post. The point of the article was that there's no quick and easy way for writers to write. There's no exciting, magic secret that gets the job done for you.

By way of making that point, King refers to a scene from his latest book:

About halfway through my latest novel, Jim Dooley, a dangerously unhinged literary stalker finds himself in the study of his idol, Scott Landon, a famous writer. Although Scott has been dead for nearly two years, Dooley is overcome with awe. "He deserved a nice place like this," he tells Scott's widow. "I hope he enjoyed it, when he wasn't agonizin' over his creations."

Lisey Landon spent 25 years with Scott, and knows a thing or two about that creative process: She "thought of Scott at the desk he called Dumbo's Big Jumbo, sitting before his big-screen Mac and laughing at something he had just written. Chewing either a plastic straw or his own fingernails. Sometimes singing along with the music. Making arm-farts if it was summer and hot and his shirt was off. That was how he agonized over his smucking creations. But she... said nothing."

She keeps her mouth shut because Jim Dooley -- like Annie Wilkes in Misery, another book of mine that touches on the writing life -- is a walking land mine. But even were Dooley an English professor (as is the man who winds Dooley up and sets him in motion), I think she would have held her peace.

I bring all that up to say that I've been wanting to read that novel, Lisey's Story, ever since reading King's article. Which I'm sure was partly his point in bringing it up. I'm interested in other writers' perspectives on the writing life, but I'm even more interested in the idea of an English professor who somehow (unknowingly? knowingly?) encourages a man to become a (posthumous?) literary stalker. Lots of questions that need answering there, and I aim to find 'em out.

Anyway, it's out now.

1 comment:

West said...

My girlfriend's reading this and really enjoying it, from what I understand.


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