Stephen King’s “What Writing Is”

On WritingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft  
“What Writing Is”

I have written an article in another Blog summarizing several sections in Stephen King's book. This article is about another section of his intriguing book.

Stephen King’s “What Writing Is”
4. What Writing Is —pp.103-107

Stephen King suggests: “Telepathy, of course.” Writing is telepathy.

Telepathy is defined as “the transmission of information from one person to another without using any of our known sensory channels or physical interaction.” In modern fiction and science fiction, many superheroes and super-villains are endowed with telepathic abilities. The term was coined in 1882 by the classical scholar Frederic W. H. Myers, a founder of the Society for Psychical Research, and has remained more popular than the earlier expression thought-transference. (Wikipedia)

Writing about telepathy, King suggests that we are “downstream on the time-line”. We are in the here-and-now and as he writes from the past, he projects images into our minds through the words he writes.

King is writing the book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft in December of 1997 and
states his book was planned to be published in 2000. He presents the case for writing as telepathy and describes a scene that he wants us to visualize. He is in his “seeing place” he calls the “basement” a place that he has built up over the years. He imagines that his readers are in their “seeing place” which may be a treetop or rooftop. (Ironically, he suggests the World Trade Center.) He imagines us in our “far-seeing place” where we receive telepathic messages.
We may be reading anywhere or anytime but imagines us in our “favorite place”: an easy chair, on a porch—anywhere we “receive” the best. He transmits; you receive over distance and time. King describes a scene—you see it—visualize it. He and his readers are engaged in the art of telepathy. This is his approach to the act of writing. He says, “We’re having a meeting of the minds.”

He describes a scene—it could be any scene—and we can see it. The shades of color may vary when he says red or a tablecloth which could be a variety of shapes or colors. We can come very close to understanding exactly what he describes.

When we read a book, we imagine, see, interpret, and compare our experiences. If we read Homer, or Shakespeare or anything at all over the past 2,000 years, the history of writing, we “receive” the ideas sent from the authors over time and space. We know their thoughts and meaning. King encourages us to join in the telepathic process by not only receiving but in transmitting, too.

 King writes, “All the arts depend upon telepathy to some degree, but I believe that writing offers the purest distillation.” Since words transmit concrete meaning, we can receive the depth of the writer’s intent. We receive the mind of the author in our minds. Telepathy, of course.

The first 100 or so pages of the book are a prelude to what he says next. King wraps up this section this way. You can approach writing however you want but “…you must not come lightly to the blank page.” You must come with passion, with intent, with will, with desire. He ends by saying “If you take writing seriously, we can do business.”

So if we read and receive from authors, according to Stephen King, we too can possibly transmit through writing and becoming author’s ourselves!

© 2013 
A Long

I wrote another article about On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft  here!

On Writing

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