What’s happening at the Library?

Published 2:33 pm Wednesday, April 12, 2023

By James Gardner

Clark County Public Library

Here’s a little thought experiment. Pick a writer. For this exercise, I choose Stephen King because – well, I’ll get to that. But imagine a young Stephen King eagerly submitting a story to his teacher, his college professor, or the one writer he admires above all others. A young King, hoping his mentor or mentors like his story, gets feedback like “No one cares about a girl moving things with her mind.” That would mean no “Carrie” (Fantastic F King). Maybe King’s lit professor tells him that “vampires wouldn’t be caught dead or undead in small-town America,” and we’d have no “Salem’s Lot” (Fantastic F King). Just imagine if your favorite writer got feedback that not only made sure one book never got written but that feedback stopped your favorite writer from ever writing anything else. Just imagine how empty those library shelves could be.

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But luckily, there was someone to tell your favorite writer to keep at it. Someone told that favorite writer that perseverance and learning one’s craft ultimately pays off, which is why it’s important to celebrate a holiday like April 10’s Encourage a Young Writer Day.

Think about it. In classrooms not just all over the country, not just all over the world, but right here in Winchester, Kentucky, there could be a writer set to create the newest fantasy hero, write an emotionally triumphant novel, or create a poem that will be carved onto a monument one day, and that budding creative spirit could be quickly squashed. In my own life, I’ve had my share of praise and criticism regarding my writing, giving me a thick skin that other writers need time to form. I’ve mentioned how writing is hard and can be tough since the rewards aren’t immediate. James Patterson, the author of the “Alex Cross” series (F Mystery Patt), was a retired advertising executive who focused on writing in almost all genres. Before he started scaring everyone, Stephen King worked as a teacher and in an industrial laundry, and his experiences turned into two stellar stories from his “Night Shift” collection (F Fantastic King).

So young writers might not have all their punctuation in the proper places or have a lot of ideas splattered in their story like a Jackson Pollock painting, but every writer has to start from somewhere. And if you nurture a future writer on the bestseller list, you might even show up in the book’s dedication. Or as a character, like young bully Fred Krueger whose name would bring kids terror in the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies (DVD Horror Nigh).

But if you’re a writer looking for inspiration, the library has a new writing group called Write Out There! There’ll be writing prompts to get your creativity jumpstarted, chances to discuss your’s and others’ work, and all sorts of writing fun. The inaugural meeting of this group, featuring yours truly and writer Rachel Hamm, will be on April 17 at 6 p.m.