Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Man of Many Books

by Alan

If you could choose a dead author to mentor you today, who would you choose and why?

Hemingway? Too gruff.

Edgar Allan Poe? Too creepy.

Faulkner? Too wordy.

Norman Mailer? Too drunk.

Tom Wolfe? Too alive.

I think I’d choose Robert B. Parker. He’s one of the authors that inspired me to become a writer myself, and I’ve read every one of his (many) books, some multiple times. RobertBParker
He’s written four series, in two different genres (mystery and western). He’s written standalones. He was prolific; it seemed like he wrote at least a book a year for fifty years. I love his characters. I love his dialogue. I love the moral dilemmas he created for his characters. (His plots were, uh, utilitarian, for the most part, simply canvasses to paint on. But nobody’s perfect.)

Bob and I would have some fun…

We’d talk shop, down on the banks of the Charles in springtime, watching the college crew teams practice on the river. We’d stroll through Back Bay, discussing characterization and the role of the macho sidekick. We would enjoy a meal at the Chart House as we watched the planes descend toward Logan, deep in conversation about multiple book story arcs.

And he’d impress upon me the importance of researching the setting where a story takes place, insisting on hands-on experiential learning. We’d work out together at the local gym. Take in a new exhibit at the Museum of Science.

Catch a game or three at Fenway.

Yeah, I definitely could get into this whole being mentored thing.


Meredith Cole said...

I'm sorry I never got to meet Robert Parker! I heard he was a lovely guy--and I enjoy his books a lot, too. I like how your idea of mentorship is hanging out... Perhaps he'd slip in a little writing advice at the ballpark?

E.A. Aymar said...

Too alive. HA!

Susan C Shea said...

I can see this working out for you! And it would be a lot easier than Hemingway, you'd just get you drunk or drag you along to Africa on a gun safari. What kind of mentoring would that be?

Susan C Shea said...

"...who'd just get you drunk..." I proofread my books better than my online chat.

RJ Harlick said...

Cool. Sounds like a great way to be mentored.