Just Because

I just started reading,  “Larry Brown, A Writer’s Life” by Jean Cash.  The foreword (by Shannon Ravenel) and the first two paragraphs of the Preface, already have me stopped in my tracks, mesmerized by a writer I’m just coming to know.  I picture my ever growing TBR (to be read) stack of backs which is already swaying and threatening to topple over, suddenly growing bigger still with however many books this guy wrote.

Not since Stephen King and Kaye Gibbons have I purchased all the books by a particular writer, but something tells me with Larry Brown, well…, he could become my new favorite.  Why?  Because of his background, the way he started, how he was self taught, and came to be what many called, “the new rising voice in Southern literature.”  Because he focused his writing on that style known as “Rough South,” or, “Grit Lit.”  Unfortunately, my getting to “know him” is happening posthumously.  He died when he was only fifty three years of age, back in 2004, when my dream of ever finishing my first book still was only ninety pages of very raw material.   It makes me sad to discover someone after they are gone, especially when I feel such an immediate connection.

That connection comes from the fact he was self taught.  Like him, I’ve not had any formal education when it comes to writing.  I don’t hold an MFA.  I didn’t major in English Lit at a university.  I am a high school graduate who went back to school after being in the work force for over 30 years.  But I didn’t focus on writing, even then.  Instead, I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Management.   But, at the back of my mind, and with every book I read, I thought “I too, can do this.”   And what else did he prove?  He proved to all of us aspiring writers that just because you may not have obtained that undergraduate degree, just because you don’t hold an MFA from a prestigious writing program, and just because you don’t have any publishing credentials, that doesn’t mean you can’t write and that doesn’t mean you can’t win awards when doing so.

If you haven’t read the story of Larry Brown, or any of his books, you just have to, if only to see that there is such a thing as “a natural.”

For quick information, here is the link from Wikipedia where you can see what he wrote and how well received his work was:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Brown_%28author%29


COMMENTS

  • Carolynn with 2 Ns

    February 3, 2013

    Reply

    Love this..
    “He proved to all of us aspiring writers that just because you may not have obtained that undergraduate degree, just because you don’t hold an MFA from a prestigious writing program, and just because you don’t have any publishing credentials, that doesn’t mean you can’t write…”

    Donna…Brown proved it, you proved it and so have I. BTW my dear you are more than an aspiring writer.

    There is hope as long as desire drives your goal and success if you always thirst to learn. I may not be famous or widely read or have won awards but when strangers walk up to me and say they love my column, I feel as if I have made it. That I lack the fancy-schmancy educational writing credentials many successful writers have, held me back for a very long time. Even after a hundred by-lines I still didn’t think I was good enough and you what, good enough becomes better and better becomes really good. The other day my editor said, “Carolynn, you’re a really good writer,” I just about fell off my chair. Call me cocky but she was right because sometimes I am and sometimes I am not; knowing which is which, makes all the difference.

    • Carolynn with 2 Ns

      February 3, 2013

      Reply

      Just one more thing. I really liked this post. As you can tell the whole educational thing struck a cord.

      • donnaeve

        February 4, 2013

        Reply

        Ohhhhh…. trust me when I “hear” you on that educational bit. For all those years in the work force, I felt like I didn’t stack up against my peers/colleagues. I always felt inadequate, like they somehow knew about my education and found me lacking. No one ever said anything, it was all me.

        I love that Brown proved it, and there are others too…I just read in our Sunday paper about a new author, her debut is coming out Feb 12. Her name is Jamie Mason and she lives in Asheville, NC. Her book, “Three Graves Full” is already getting great reviews. She is like Brown, me, (you?) in that she is self taught. She worked in banking, no formal education in respect to writing, a high school graduate, etc etc. She too, proves it can be done!

        Thank you for your kind words…(aspiring writer)…and…your editor was right, Carolynn.

  • Carolynn with 2 Ns

    February 4, 2013

    Reply

    OMG thank you so much.

  • J.D.

    February 8, 2013

    Reply

    In my yoinger days, I had the fire but not tthe discipline or the skills to write. An MFA would’ve helped me. Committing to an art was scary. I admire those who have and who did.

    • donnaeve

      February 8, 2013

      Reply

      I certainly had my priorities backwards in my younger years, which coincides with the lack of skill and discipline as well.

      MFA’s obtained are a kudos to those who achieved that goal. Still, I like knowing it’s not a requirement in order to be considered good. It means authentically talented people are able to make it alongside the ones who were lucky enough to take it to the next level. Can’t say I wouldn’t want to not have one…maybe someday.


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