writing on the moon

So at the moment I’m reading Stephen King’s On Writing. Have you read it? The pages of my copy are already glowing bright yellow with passages that I’ve highlighted. Whether you read and enjoy his work or not I wholly recommend it:  it’s a charming, honest, open, and beautiful memoir. I just love him…and I know it’s not cool to love him, and that’s one of the reasons that I do. Most writers simply haven’ t been struck by his brand of lightning. We can all only hope to deliver such magic. Even in the darkest nightmares that he writes, there are crystal clear sparks of beauty. Solid truths. Characters that you literally fall in love with. Personally, I’ve always been equally in love with both the brilliantly doomed alcoholic Jack Torrance and the dark, strong, mysterious  Roland Deschain. Such haunted beauty; such fierce, unbridled talent.

So far what’s been ringing and clanging around in my head since beginning On Writing is the bit where he asks writers to take every moment that they sit down to write very seriously: “You must not come lightly to the blank page.” On this he is emphatic; the words are italicized.

I think often in this funny, glowing internet world we sometimes sit down to just write something. Anything to show that we’re keeping our websites current, fresh, and fragrant, even if it means ignoring our other, more serious, more difficult writing. I’m very guilty of just that sometimes, though I try to keep my words as elegant as I can (even when what I’m writing about is much ado about nothing).

*

Right before bed tonight Xander and I were looking out the window at the moon. It was all big and pretty, glowing cool and blue, and he said to me, “I wonder what it’s like up there. I think about that sometimes.” I told him I thought it was probably very quiet. He nodded and walked into his room, and we went about the business of getting him ready for sleep.

(c) Gary R. Johnson Photography

Think about the moon for a minute. What do you think it’s like up there?  Of course, as good citizens we’ve all seen the footage of Neil and Buzz kangaroo hopping over its dusty, cratered ground. But my goodness what does it feel like up there? Would your knees grow weak the moment you touched the surface? Would the weight of the distance from home crush your chest just a little? Or would you feel like a perfectly fit puzzle piece in the Universe, floating and smiling under both the young and the dying stars? Here on Earth we’re all floating around on a giant rock too of course but we have so much cluster and mess that sometimes we forget the awesome wonder of it all. Maybe up there in the quiet and the stark contrasts we might settle down and actually listen to our own heartbeats. We’d know that the truth, our truth was always (ahem) out there. We just couldn’t hear it or see it underneath the changing leaves and crashing waves. Too busy with our own world’s beauty to notice the rest.

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10 thoughts on “writing on the moon

  1. I love that book by Stephen King. it is one of the best writing books I’ve ever read. My favorite advice: Kill your darlings.
    Oh my.
    I can’t even comment on what it feels like to walk on the moon. Yes, probably very quiet.

  2. I’ve never read that Stephen King book—I so admire writers/artists who are prolific like that (and I know, it’s too bad that those artists get dismissed as popular).

    Lovely wonderings about the moon.

  3. I know…what’s wrong with being popular? Stephen King wrote himself and his family out of poverty, and he’s affected so many lives. I’ve been at many a book club discussion where he’s been lambasted. My usual retort was, “Could YOU write like that?” He’s a genius.

  4. Just when I thought I had too many books to read, along comes another.. Thanks Chrissy!!
    Xander’s comment is sweet and so very human 🙂

  5. A friend loaned me a copy of this many months ago. i keep intending to read it, then misplacing it. I really will read it before too long. The handful of friends who’ve recommended it are a handful whose opinions I regard highly, by virtue of past experiences!

  6. You’ll love it. Even if you don’t like his fiction…it’s such a generous work! I wonder if it’s on creative writing syllabi; I kinda doubt it. Academics usually don’t like him.

  7. I read his memoir a few years ago and loved it. It simply amazes me how he can continue to write and write and write and produce high quality novels. There is a lot of good information in his memoir. This makes me want to go back and read it again.

  8. I love how generous he is with his work and advice. He seems so down to earth and loving, too. So wild a writer who can write the things that truly terrify me can also move me to happy tears!

"... all my lovers were there with me, all my past and futures."

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