Happy Birthday Big Bad Love

Writer's Almanac
is one of my favorite things to read each morning. Today comes the news that it's Larry Brown's birthday. Larry Brown of course, died last year at 53, of a heart attack. The couple times I met Larry he was funny as hell and usually drunk. I think it was cause he missed his wife when he was out on the road. Or maybe it was cause he was shy and the idea of appearing in front of hundreds of people at a bookstore was daunting. Whatever the reason, he was, but he never was miserable or ugly, which is more than I can say for some non-drunk guys I've met who thought they were God's gift to women...or men...or goats.

Larry Brown's stories about learning to write should be required reading for anyone wanting to learn the craft.

He said, "There's no such thing as a born writer. It's a skill you've got to learn, just like learning how to be a bricklayer or a carpenter."

His story Falling Out of Love begins, "Sheena Baby, the one that I loved, and I were walking around. It was late one evening. All the clouds had gathered up into big marshmallows and mushrooms, and it was an evening as fine as you could ask for, except that we had two flat tires on our car some miles back down the road and didn't know where we were or who to ask. We were about ready to kill one another."


Anonymous said...

You're an agent and you have to time leisure read? Illuminating.

Miss Snark said...

You bet. It's a requirement of the biz. First of all agents read the books that editors have bought. When I want to know what Editor X acquires the best way to find out is read the books.

Second, it's crucial to keep up wth what actual people are buying. Im not an actual person of course, since I rarely shell out hard cash for books. But this industry is about keeping tabs on people who do. Best way to do that: read what they buy.

Third, after a long day of yapping about royalty rates, reading the slush pile and chatting with editors about why something is really great but just not quite right for their list, the only thing I want to is escape with a damn good murder mystery.

Is that what you meant by "leisure" read? Do you think I'm chained to my desk 24/7?

What I don't do is watch television. At all. Amazing how much time that saves. It makes me a pop culture moron, but at least I have time to read.
And do this blog.

Anonymous said...

thanks for remembering Larry. . . he was a gentleman in his own way, and there is a big, gaping abyss in this world now that he's gone.
I am a woman who publishes fiction, and he always made me feel welcome, and he always treated me like I belonged, which is more than I can say for some other "gentlemen" on planet literati.

inkgrrl said...

I'm really glad I was having too crappy a year last year to hear that he'd kicked, because that just have been the icing on the cake. He's one of my favorite writers... somebody I'd hope to be a tenth as good as someday.

Crappitycrapcrap. I'll go reread all his work and wallow now. He was a great one.

none said...

Thanks for the post on Larry Brown. It's a sad thing. And he was a total craftman. It's hard to believe he's gone.

Mississippi writers always get drunk when they have to leave their home! [g]