Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Writing As A Reflection Of The Author

I don't read nearly enough books. Most of my reading consists of newspapers and periodicals. Some on line though I prefer off.

I find it strange because so many of my blogging acquaintances are writers. Some published. Some not. Many, however, have put their work online. I haven't read any of them. I just can't get into a good story sitting at my computer. It isn't that comfortable and I prefer, as they say, to curl up with a good book.

Over the past couple of months two personal friends have had books published. Finally, an excuse to curl up! I was eager to get started because I had never read anything that had been written by anyone I know personally. It was a fascinating experience.

Both books are fiction. The subject matter is in no way similar. What I found fascinating, however, is how much the protagonists reflected the personality of their creators.

The first, When Wolf Comes, is the story of a young man who was shanghaied from a Boston pub in the early 1800s. After several misadventures along the way, he found himself a slave of the Makah tribe of the Northwest Coast of what is now Washington state.

I've know John Pappas for years. His wife, before succumbing to pancreatic cancer, was one of my best friends while we lived in Seattle. They were both my friends. We were always involving ourselves in projects of mutual interest. That's when I learned of John's deep curiosity about and interest in the Makah culture.

The book reflects it in the depth of research that is obvious. And his hero is a reflection of himself. A kind, caring, easy going fellow who had an easier time than he might have because he was, above all, pragmatic. John.

The other book's author is familiar to many of you. Sea Changes by Gail Graham who also authors the blog Driving Chairman Bao . Gail is as complex as the story she has penned. If a movie were made of it she'd have to play her protagonist, Sarah. Sarah is Gail and Gail is Sarah! The story is set in Australia where she lived for over thirty years and was not particularly fond of it. This isn't a review of the book, rather an observation as to how much the book reveals about it's author.

I enjoyed both books a great deal; both were intriguing stories that held my attention. But what really fascinated me was that while I didn't learn anything I didn't already know about my friends, it tells other readers a great deal. Dead on. I can't help being curious as to whether others have had a similar experience in a good read.

I guess that's why writers are encouraged to write about the things they know best. Including themselves!


Rinkly Rimes said...

I must get hold of your friend's Australian book and discover how we can improve!

Betty said...

I read "Sea Changes" last month, and reviewed it on my blog. I liked it a lot, but can't say whether it reflects Gail's personality or not, as I don't know her personally. I have been reading her blog for a long time, though, and always enjoy it. Isn't it fun reading something by someone you, sort of, know?