Tuesday 15 December 2015

Orange or Cherry Jello

Every now and then I think that I should spend more time on each of these blogs that I write. It certainly couldn’t hurt, but I am just not sure I want to spend even more time writing this drivel. My son was writing a blog for a while a few years ago and he stopped. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free. Granted he is much younger and makes his living being creative with writing, or did at the time. It makes sense.
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If I could find someone dumb enough to pay me to write, I would never stop. I can remember a Literature teacher telling the class that Charles Dickens was paid by the word which was one reason his books described worlds in painful detail. The other reason is that he was a literary genius of course. I have noticed lately that some of today’s popular writers just seem to churn out book after book. They have found a winning formula that sells and why wouldn’t they make as much as they can, doing what they love to do.

I am confident that most of these authors have a dusty drawer located in an old desk in a back room that is just full of stories that began and ended shortly thereafter. They just weren’t commercial even though they were interesting and challenging to the author. In the past when an author of note passed away, his papers and the contents of that dusty old desk would be donated to a university. The university would find a dusty space to store those boxes of half written ideas and eventually, some grad student would “discover” the papers. He or she would write their masters thesis and quite possibly publish the hitherto undiscovered manuscripts.
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This exact thing recently happened and now we are blessed with a “new” book by Harper Lee 55 years later. “To Kill a Mockingbird” was published in 1960 the critical and public acclaim and was the last major work by Harper Lee. “Go Set a Watchman” was published in 2015 and is under a cloud of controversy as to whether Harper Lee actually wanted it published or not. It depends on who is talking I suppose. I have read that it is an original draft of Mockingbird, or that it is a sequel which is set twenty years after Mockingbird ends. I haven’t read the book yet and to do it justice I will have to reread “To Kill a Mockingbird” and make my mind up then.

I know that someone other than Harper Lee is making money from the new book and at this point in her life; she is more interested in whether it is orange or cherry jello for desert tonight.

Today’s authors had better hope that their kids don’t toss out those floppy disks and hard drives that are piled in the back of the closet or future grad students will have nothing to do.

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