I've been reading a book of stories called "Don't Give Up Your Day Job." The review says it contains: "Contributory autobiographical essays by: John Grisham, Pat Conroy, Howard Bahr, Rick Bragg, Larry Brown, Connie May Fowler, Tom Franklin, Tim Gautreaux, William Gay, Winston Groom, Silas House, Suzanne Hudson, Joshilyn Jackson, Barb Johnson, Cassandra King, Janis Owens, Michelle Richmond, Clay Risen, George Singleton, Matthew Teague, Daniel Wallace, Brad Watson, Steve Yarbrough and Sonny Brewer."
I've read books by quite a few of these authors. And have enjoyed most of them. Each author writes about the many jobs/professions they had before they became published writers. The review went on to quote this: ""Henry James once said that many people were vouchsafed extraordinary
experiences in life, but only a few were blessed with the ability to
competently relate them to the rest of the the world. In 'Don't Quit
Your Day Job,' the experiences - whether simple, profound, funny,
colorful, dangerous or tragic - and this ability are met, with pleasing
results." John Sledge, Mobile Press-Register"
After reading about a third of the stories, I've come to the conclusion that writing is a very personal thing. One thing that seems to stand out in these short memoirs is that the authors wrote about what they knew. They used the numerous experiences of their lives to populate their work. Rick Bragg, an author that I really have enjoyed, writes about family and the woods and rivers of his home. Other authors have said that you don't have to write about what you know. I guess it's like everything else in life; it's all in the mind of the individual.
I've written a few short stories on this blog. I enjoyed them. They were written about places, things, and people I knew. When I wrote about the man in the cemetery, I could visualize that man in that cemetery standing beside his Harley because I had seen it while riding by. The story came from that visual prompt.
I have made up stories in my mind all my life. I wish I had had the courage to write them down. The courage to believe that I could write just was taken out of me by people who made fun of my stories, my dreams, my thoughts. So I kept them to myself. I still do for the most part.
Don't get me wrong, I'm no Margaret Mitchell or Hemingway. I just am a woman with a vivid imagination and not much else.