Saturday, May 24, 2008

Captains Courageous—Dead Authors Society

By Keith Fisher

Remember two weeks ago, when I suggested a dead authors society? Well, someone suggested I actually do it. I am reading the old classics, so I think I’ll call it DAS for short and occasionally tell you what I think of an old book.

I read Farewell to Arms until the dialogue put me to sleep. I haven’t given up on Hemmingway though. I loved the movie version of Old Man of the Sea. I will read something else before I make a judgement. I have been perusing Frankenstein by Mary Shelly and I read a collection of Mark Twain’s humor and loved it. I am currently confused with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but I really loved Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling.

Kipling was a man who knew how to write. He is my new hero. He could write the way his peers wrote, in what we call the classic style. With the twenty-dollar words, the flowery descriptions, and literary prose that is almost poetic. But Kipling had something the others didn’t have—he told a story well. After all, did you read The Jungle Book.

In Captains Courageous, We learn about a spoiled young man who gets pitched overboard from a cruise ship and ends up working on a fishing boat for several months before he returns to his rich family. The experience straightens him out and he gleans many lessons from his experiences. As you can tell, I loved it.

Now for the other stuff . . .

I was writing a blog for this week and then decided to talk about Kipling. I still feel the need to write the other one, so I’ll attach it here.

When upon Life’s Billows

By Keith Fisher

There’s a tendency for a writer in any market to get discouraged. It may not feel okay, but it’s normal. A writer spends so much personal time working and slaving over a manuscript, only to have it rejected by the first busy editor or publisher that comes along.

What about the writer who never finishes? He/she looks at the mountain of edits and re-writes and sees only the task ahead, with no end in sight. Those writers sometimes give up and the world loses the next great novel, hearts that where meant to be touched, won’t be—what a shame.

I looked at the hymnal at church last week and read the lyrics to Count Your Blessings page 241 Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The second line says, "When you are discouraged thinking all is lost . . . count your blessings see what God hath done." This may help you . . .I hope it does . . . but remember: sometimes thinking of all you owe God can depress you. Do what I did, and glean the right message.

The point is to get on your knees before God. One of the members of my critique group blogged recently about the need to include our Heavenly Father in all we do. If we start by counting blessings, God will help. Discouragement and doubt will not overtake us, and our manuscript will be published—people’s hearts will be touched.

Either that, or God will suggest a different book to write, but you will know how blessed you are. The important thing is to never give up. In the fourth verse of the hymn we read, "Do not be discouraged; God is over all."

Good luck in your writing—see you next week.


Kimberly Job said...

You're right, Keith. God is "over all". What a comforting thought.

Thanks for the reminder not to get discouraged...with writing...or all the other things going on in life.

I needed it!

Dan Olsen said...

I loved the Hitchhiker's Guide tot he Galaxy. But then, I also like to have my entertainment sppon fed to me every now and then, and I believe that helps with that book.

Cindy Beck, author said...

Nice blog. I'm not a Hemmingway fan, but I do like Kipling.

So, which of the classics will you be reading next? The Scarlet Letter? (Yuck.) Goodbye, Mr Chips? (Yuck.)

Ooo, or maybe The Count of Monte Cristo! Now there's a good one.

Thanks for posting your thoughts.