Last night I couldn’t sleep (a cruel trick when the Northwest climate seems want to lure you into a long hibernation), and I was lying awake reading thins and that on my iInsomniac when I came across this Paris Review interview with Stephen King from about 6 or 7 years ago. I’ve always admired Stephen King’s career, especially in his comeback from the horrific accident that could nearly have taken his life.
I found that much of this interview covered territory King wrote about in his beautiful book On Writing, but it’s always a delight to read King in his own, dry sense of humor (n.b.: King’s thoughts on Thomas Hardy’s work).
But what I was really struck by in this interview was King’s message to Shirley Hazzard, who had some snide words for him at the National Book Award ceremony where King received a commendation for a distinguished contribution to literature. Now, I know King was speaking out of frustration at a specific person and attitude, but I think it’s advice we can all benefit from:
You have a short life span. You need to stop this crap about sitting there and talking about what we do, and actually do it. Because God gave you some talent, but he also gave you a certain number of years.
I’m not an inspirational quote type of person, but if I had a little cork board in my writing space, I’d probably pin this to it and read it to myself a few times each day. I’ve had a few occasions recently to think about the certain number of years I myself have, and I can’t help but feel that I waste a good bit of time talking about what I’m doing when I have real work to do.
With that, I’m getting back to actually doing my manuscript revision.