Can writers break free from their genres?8:41 AM
My Halloween reading for this year is Stephen King’s “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”. I figured... it's still Stephen King.
Nearly every writer on the planet recommends this book so I thought it was time for me to read it. Also, I found it in a used book store for 3 bucks.
I was semi-right in choosing this book for Halloween. I'm on page 35 and a lot of it already freaked me out.
I won't talk about the amazing writing lessons the book has because we already covered that.
What called my attention was how strange his childhood recollections are. Like when he was four and his nanny feeds him seven fried eggs and then locks him up in a closet where he proceeds to throw up. Or when he graphically describes the painful procedures he had to go through at the "ear doctor".
Now, his life is not the only one filled with disturbing experiences. The thing is: he decided to fill his memoir with nothing but.
It's not that he solely had bizarre experiences as a child, but that those are the ones he chose to remember and write about.
Take, for example, the fact that he was sick. He chose to describe how horrifying his doctor's appointments were.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, another author who struggled with illness most of her life, wrote about her poor health like this: "I dare say I shall soon be able to see in my dungeon and begin to be amused with the spiders".
That's still a little depressing but much more uplifting. But then, Browning was a lyrical poet.
Could we make a connection between a writer's genre and his outlook in life?
I can't but help wonder if King excelled in writing horror stories because that's how he sees life. Maybe he tends to look for the disgusting and the disturbing aspects of life.
Could he write a less creepy memoirt and still be Stephen King?
Have you read "On Writing"? Do you think there's a connection between a writer's fictional world and his personal life?
Image via Do What You Love.