Saturday, November 5, 2016

Wise Words from Stephen King, Lois Lowry, and Geraldine Brooks

This post is WAY overdue, but I wanted to share the wise words and advice from three authors I had the privilege to see at the National Book Festival in September.

First, I got to see Stephen King.  I.  Got.  To.  See.  Stephen.  King!!!

My love affair with his books began when I was sixteen years old.  Bored with government, I sat at the back of the class and read Needful Things, Carrie, and The Stand.  His complex characters, the horrific villains that both shocked and intrigued me, and the psychological weirdness which permeates his books, sucked me in and made me a life-long fan.

Therefore, my emotions as I waited for him to come on stage can only be compared to the excitement and delight of a child waiting in line to see the real Santa Claus, or maybe a Walking Dead fan at Comic Con hoping to catch a glimpse of Norman Reedus .

King was a fantastic speaker, using the same wit present in his books, but he also made a compelling plea for his listeners to encourage our youth to read.  He had some great quotations and advice for aspiring authors and readers alike, which I'd like to share today.

Best Lines and Advice from Stephen King

1.  "Real men read."
2.  "I read to my kids to keep them from ripping the God damn house apart."
3.  "As reading declines, analytical thought declines.  We end up with people who have no nose for
4.  "People who read on the toilet, as far as I'm concerned, are good people."
5.  "Authors are like secret agents - we are supposed to observe you, and you aren't supposed to
      observe us."
6.  "Writers are liars."

And my personal favorite:  "Non-readers live only one, single life."

King spoke for almost an hour, and I hung on his every word.  I highly recommend seeing him speak if you ever get the chance.


Geraldine Brooks talked about the importance of researching before writing, and said that she tries to find true stories that have been largely unexplored for her books.  She also said:

"Find the singular - find the truth of the world." 

And: "We are all holy and broken to a certain extent."


The Giver, and the books which follow it, have always been some of my favorites, so I was happy to hear Lois Lowry speak for a second time.  

Lowry surprised me by saying that she does not read science fiction or fantasy, and does not consider her dystopian novels to fall under those categories.  She also told a lovely story of receiving a letter from a little girl, who thanked Lowry for the beautiful imagery in her books.  The girl said that she could see the setting so clearly and wanted to know how Lowery accomplished this feat.  The girl also said she had entered a writing contest and hoped to win. 

Months later, the little girl wrote Lowry again, and included a clipping from her local newspaper to show she had won the contest.  The title was something like: Local Blind Girl Wins Writing Contest.  Lowry thought back to the first letter she received from the girl, and was touched beyond words.

These stories and quotations resonated with me, and inspired me to keep writing.  Hopefully you've found them useful as well.  And if you've never been to the National Book Festival, go next year!  It's a great place for readers and writers alike!

Beth - 1
National Book Festival - 1