Saturday, December 7, 2013

Under Cover or Old Soul

Have you seen the movie John Carter, based on the book, Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs? We watched it last week (we own it, much to my pleasure), and because of that, I decided to start reading the book again. We bought the movie, which prompted my buying the series of books from Amazon for my Kindle Fire last winter when we were in town.

I might prefer books, but my kindle has made reading so much simpler for me. Until last year, I've needed to have a candle to read by, and though I like candles and have lots of wax to make into them, with my kindle I don't need candles anymore. The best part, I don't have to wait until I go to town and maybe get to go to a bookstore in order to find fresh reading material.

But I digress

Anyway, I started reading Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, my absolute favorite author when I was a kid (meaning preteen). As I look back on that in regards to this author, I was already developing my obsession for collections as I must have read every book the man ever wrote, those that I could find anyway. I know I checked them out of the library multiple times as I read them over and over again. Tarzan was equally a favorite back then.

As I am reading the book, it occurs to me how the style varies so very much from today. The writing is almost lyrical and somewhat verbose by comparison. As I remember my own first writing, I wonder if I was imitating Burroughs. I think most beginning writers do that, imitate their favorite author in their style. At any rate, it was forever since I've read those books and I had completely forgotten about any style change over the years. I was just a reader; what did I know about writing?

When my first writings came out all sort of lyrical and somewhat scattered and verbose, I totally missed the connection and saw it only as something to overcome, a habit to be broken in the interest of writing a book people will find easy to read. Anyway, as I'm reading along, it occurs to me that I kinda like the style, though it's not something I'll ever imitate. If you've ever read Tolkien's books, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, you can easily see how a writer's style can change.

Some years ago my husband bought me those books in a single binder. Reading through that book was pretty much the first time I'd read it for at least a few years, and at first I thought Tolkien intended the older style for the whole series, but then 'got into' the telling of the story and the lyrical style fell by the way side.

ANYWAY a few days ago, a friend of mine from a forum other than Facebook, finally published his book. I knew he'd been working on it for some time, and even having some financial difficulties along the way. I'd love to hear his story. But anyway, it was finally done and published. Originally planned for hard cover only, I couldn't hope to afford it any time soon, but I did my best to give him all the support I could. Then I get an email from him. Could I take a look at the kindle edition? Oh my, I was so honored and accepted the offer immediately.

Now there were some formatting problems with the edition I had but they were known problems so I offered to help there too however I could.

But again, I digress

Guess what? Upon my first glimpse of this book, I'm right back into the same style of Burroughs and Tolkien at first, that lovely, lyrical, verbose style that just sings to me. Oh and by the way, the friend I mentioned, he's better than either of them. The words flow smoothly and the picture is well painted. I can just see this proper gentleman with maybe an umbrella or cane swinging from his arm (or leather-bound notebook in his hand) walking down the street. Maybe he's wearing a top hat; at least he is in my painting. Oh yeah, completely enjoying this book. It's almost going to be hard to go back to Burroughs, though I will. I even stopped over to Amazon and bought the first two books of the Tarzan series. I'm curious if he kept the same style. I honestly don't remember though I remember the story well enough.

So, are you an author undercover as a writer from a previous life? Or are you an old soul very comfortable with a much older style of writing? Me - I'm beginning to wonder.


William Kendall said...

I've read some of Burrough's work, but it's been awhile. And I have seen John Carter. I was surprised by how much fun it was, given how it underperformed at the box office.

Hargrove Perth said...

I am a very old too. I write in what is now referred to as classical English or King's English. It isn't as popular. Yet I find it more beautiful and lyrical than what has become the norm as of late.