Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Glimpsing Autobiographies and Authors

I read a lot of genres. Books aren't just nonfiction or nonfiction; there are books out there, often good ones, that refuse to fit one narrow category. Mainstream, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, drama, romance? Books that cross genre limits are rarely boring. Give me unpredictable, give me something creative, and give me plenty of it.

Oh, yes. I confess to being a book hoarder...er, I mean "collector." Never mind that I constantly fall short of having shelf space.

It doesn't matter: the collection exists in crates at present, yet their comforting presence is known. They don't leave me lurking alone in the shadows of a dervish inspired brain.

That is correct. I didn't mumble. I cannot bear to be alone in my own head. It's like sitting on a single crate in the middle of a huge, abandoned warehouse somewhere you've never been and where you know no one. The echoes, the faint scrabbling of tiny claws, the _whisht_ of wings... on what?! Then the footsteps that don't quite seem to come from any one direction.

Ummm...

That's me. Afraid of the Great Emptiness. And so I tend to go inside, building tales that tame the weirdings and gaps in reality in a way duct tape simply cannot. Though I do believe in duct tape. (WD-40 does not apply here.)

I often read author autobiographies, generally contemporary voices. Mostly those of people no upper class college would hold up as classics, granted. They suit me well enough, leaving the door open to the accepted literary glitter too. Ursula K. LeGuin, Louis L'Amour, Stephen King... many I can't conjure up the names of at the moment.

Plausibility is a small, insistent point bouncing around: all the writers want, like everyone else, to be different. "I always wanted to be a writer." A listing of personal quirks to follow. Of course.

There's no need, I think, for me to worry on these counts. First, it's unlikely that I'll be required or asked or needed (?) to write an autobiography. Second, I did not "always wish to become a writer." (Tragically, I must confess that I wanted to become a veterinarian. Physical limitations and an inability to manage higher maths killed that idea off years ago.) Third, since the market is flooded with wannabe artists, photographers, and writers, anything most folks, myself included, do in that area ends up being a mere hobby.

Since I read as a hobby (the I.R.S. says a hobby is that which you do without regularly realizing a profit from the pursuit of, more or less), it follows to order that I also write for a hobby. The whole writing as job concept has been met, examined, and subsequently discarded as unrealistic. It takes money to make money, and there's a barrier hard to bounce merrily past.

I do have some books available on Amazon; if you want to help perpetuate my hobby habit, go to http://rleetipton.blogspot.com (copy and paste, please, as I am blogging here via cell phone) for information on how to buy them. I'd appreciate the nod, but won't hold anyone's feet to the fire in that regard.

I learned to read at an early age, not because I was inspired by supportive adults (it mostly confused my family that I enjoyed reading so much), but because I was unable to see much beyond my own nose. I didn't get eyeglasses until the third grade, but I did get yelled at for always having my nose stuck in a book and for always trying to sit in the front row at school (still too far from the blackboard to see anything on it), and for disappearing silently into my room for hours upon hours on end. And later, for having answers to certain questions most people certainly don't have the nerve to ask a child. (So...yes, I developed a dry sense of humor. More yelling.)

By the time computers came along, I was officially "over the hump" and, being weird as usual, took to them like a happy duck on a big swimming pool. (More yelling.) After all, now I can go on Facebook and take part in conversations with Anne Rice, Charles deLint, Amy Tan, Stephen King, and several other well-known authors.

If you can't join 'em, go on learning from them, I say. The joy in living vicariously applies even so.

I met a young lady today, her age a ripe old elementary school number, who told me she wants to grow up and be an author. Smiling, I gave her a set of my nonfiction books, signed them, and accepted a lovely handmade bookmark in return. The dream is real. I'd love to attend one of her book signings someday.