Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Wisdom of Travis McGee - #4 - A Woman Who Does Not...

by Bert Carson
For today's Travis McGee bit of philosophy, I've decided to return to The Deep Blue - Good-by, book one in the Travis McGee series.

 When I went to to com to get the link to the book I noticed, as I do every time I go for one of the McGee books on Amazon, following the title of the book is this statement:  John D. MacDonald Author - Lee Child Introduction.

I'm really tickled that the publisher decided to re-release the books, and in most cases, add the whispersync for voice option, but, to have Lee Child introduce them is akin to having Jimmy Swaggart introduce Jesus of Nazareth.  Come on Random House, give us a break.

For the stand alone John D. MacDonald novels, Random House employed Dean Koontz for the introduction.  Of the two, Koontz or Childs, my preference is Koontz, however, the previous analogy applies equally to Koontz or Childs when they are used to introduce a MacDonald book.

Now for the wisdom of McGee -

A woman who does not guard and treasure herself cannot be of very much value to anyone else.  They become a pretty little convenience, like a guest towel.  And the cute little things they say, and their dainty little squeals of pleasure and release are as contrived as the embroidered initials on the guest towels.  Only a woman of pride, complexity and emotional tension is genuinely worth the act of love, and there are only two ways to get yourself one of them.  Either you lie, and stain the relationship with your own sense of guile, or you accept the involvement, the emotional responsibility, the permanence she must by nature crave.  I love you can be said only two ways.

That isn't what you'd expect from a pulp novelist, so we must either redefine pulp novelist or own the obvious, John D. MacDonald wasn't one of them.

And, here is a bonus, from David Geherin's out of print biography, John D. MacDonald -

John D. McDonald on writing:

During those for first four months of effort, I wrote about 800,000 words of unsalabe manuscript, all in short-story form.  That is the classic example of learning by doing.  Had I done a novel a year.  It would have taken me ten years to acquire the precision and facility I acquired in four months.  I could guess that I spent eighty hours a week at the typewriter.  I kept twenty-five to thirty stories in the mail at all times, sending each of them out to an average of ten potential markets before retiring them.

I thought you got up in the morning and went to work and worked till lunch and then went back to work until the day was over - with good business habits, as in any other job.
It wasn't until my habit patterns were firmly embedded that I discovered that writers tend to work a couple of hours and then to brood about it the rest of the day... The thing to do is to do it. 

MacDonald's work habits weren't the only thing that goes against what we've come to expect from writers.  I'll be sharing more of those unconventional traits in this Wisdom of Travis McGee Series.  I trust you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy finding and sharing them.



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