Hitting the Books with Gary Thorne: “The Way of the Writer”

At the urging of editor Pete Kerzel and videographer Olivia Witherite of MASNsports.com, who for reasons only they can explain wished to be part of another season of this column, here we meet again.

As in past seasons, a reminder that this is not a book review space. The concept is a column on books I have read and enjoyed, most while traversing the skies of baseball, with the hope you might enjoy them, as well.

The-Way-of-the-Writer.jpgReading matters for one’s growth and for the growth of mankind. As Charles Johnson says in “The Way of the Writer”: “And our finest storytellers, the ones who transform and deepen our understanding of the world, are not just writers; they, too, are engaged in the adventure of ideas ...”

Johnson is described on the dust jacket as a novelist, essayist, literary scholar, philosopher, cartoonist, screenwriter, MacArthur Fellow and professor emeritus at the University of Washington.

He won the National Book Award for “Middle Passage” in 2002.

This book is subtitled “Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling.”

These reflections cover the mid-1960s forward regarding a man devoted to writing - with clarity and imagination - and doing so with a succinctness and dedication to the words.

All of this designed for telling a good story.

This is not a “how to write” book in the usual sense. This is more a philosophical look at what a writer can bring to her craft. Yes, the ideas here are certainly transferable in attempting to master the art of writing, but extend far beyond structuring a paragraph.

The book’s sections are: “Who is the Writer?”; “The process of Writing”; “What Helps the Writer”; “The Writer As Teacher”; “The Writing Life”; “The Duties of the Writer”; and “Philosophy and the Writer.”

This is not particularly easy reading - you need to reread a lot of sentences and think. Which, after reading this work, is exactly what Johnson believes quality writing and storytelling is all about.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ― Ernest Hemingway

A quick thanks to those who have communicated one way or another regarding “Hitting the Books.” That’s appreciated.

Belated congratulations to Roswell Encina, the former director of communications at the Enoch Pratt Public Library in Baltimore. He is now a senior advisor to former Pratt head librarian Carla Hayden, who is now librarian of Congress.

Roswell was the purveyor of reading recommendations from the Pratt staff for “Hitting the Books” for the past two years. Thanks for all your help and what a coup to have these two outstanding people leading the way at America’s great library.

Gary Thorne is the play-by-play voice of the Orioles on MASN, and the 2017 season is his 11th with the club and 32nd covering Major League Baseball. His blog will appear regularly throughout the season. The Orioles and Sarasota County have partnered on the Big League Reader Program, which rewarded kids who read three books in February with tickets to a Grapefruit League game at Ed Smith Stadium in March.

* Hitting the Books with Gary Thorne. © Copyright 2016 Gary F. Thorne. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Gary F. Thorne and MASNsports.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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