Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cheers and Jeers -- by Larry D. Sweazy

I cheered this week when I read Norm’s announcement that he was writing a YA novel. Good for you, Norm. And better yet, good for you for doing the research. In an environment where we writers are easily pigeon-holed into being mystery writers, western writers, or short story writers, it’s great to see other writers spreading their wings and stretching their muscles. Isn’t that what being a writer is all about? Good luck on your journey, Norm.

I cheered this week when Robert Duvall won the Emmy for Best Actor in Broken Trail, and announced to the world that “The western is here to stay!”

Like the premature announcement of Mark Twain’s death, the western has been buried and resurrected more than once. Top box-office draws this week include Jesse James and 3:10 to Yuma. The cycle continues. But the western will never be what it was in the 1950s and 60s. And that’s not a bad thing. The western is slowly becoming recognized as the Literature of the West, and it will endure with top-notch writers in the field like Richard S. Wheeler, Loren Estleman, and Johnny D. Boggs (check out Boggs’s latest novel Northfield, if you haven’t gotten enough of Jesse James). The recent spate of big-time movie projects is proof of that.

Jeers for the week are more frightening. The mention of Tasers and free speech, the Jena 6, politics, all bring jeers. I’m not going on a rant—but I could, I really could—but I don’t this blog is the place for that.

Finally, I’ve been trying to digest the recent loss of a couple of writers who I’ve read and impacted my life.

First off, Madeleine d'Engle. A children’s writer…boy do I hate that tag—jeers for anyone who uses that tag in a denigrating way. A Wrinkle in Time introduced a whole generation to tesseracts, time travel, and great storytelling. She’s been eulogized in a lot of places, including on this blog last week, and I doubt I can add anything other than this:

Her work took me away, showed me the possibilities of love, of courage, and dreaming.

Man, and she was just a children’s writer… Good luck on your journey, Madeleine, and thank you—thank you for keeping the child in all of us in your heart and showing us the way to our own.

And Robert Jordan passed away recently—author of the Wheel in Time series who died at 58 from an incurable blood disease. Jordan started his career writing the Conan books and the Michael Fallon historical romance trilogy. I’m a Robert E. Howard fan, but I’ve never read the Fallon books. I plan to hunt them down. The sad thing is Jordan wasn’t able to finish the Wheel in Time series. That’s one of a writer’s worst fear, I think.

Ed Gorman wrote a great piece on his blog about Jordan, and I don’t think I could do better. Check it out at Ed's blog.

And finally, I’ll end this on a cheer—Happy 60th birthday to Stephen King. You scared the hell out of me from the start with Carrie, and you’re still doing it. May we all be so lucky at 60.

1 comment:

Norm Cowie said...

Thanks for the good words, dude. Tomorrow's the big day... really looking forward to it. Need to find out if kids still do spitballs.

Agree with you on Mr. King. I was one of those crazy dudes who stuck with the 17 year hiatus he took in the Dark Tower series.