John Scalzi is much younger than I thought. Sure, it may seem stupid to think that just because he wrote a book called “Old Man’s War” he himself was an old man. But there you go. His blog is also an immense black hole that sucked entire days away from life. Three of the more recent things that have popped up I found very interesting. The first is his advice to teenage writers.
Now I’m not sure whether this was posted in response to the whole Kaavya Viswanathan scandal, but I think it says a lot about how something like that could come about. It takes a lot of time to grow as a writer. Most of us started at about 10-13 years old and to assume that only six years later the quality of out work would be publishable. That’s like taking piano lessons at 10 and assuming that by 18 we’d be playing Carnegie Hall. Sure, it happens, but rarely. I look back at the stuff I was writing at that age and cringe. Jeez, it took me almost four years just to figure out how to write a novel and that’s after almost 15 years of practice. Granted, I’m a slow learner, but still…
The other post on his site is a bit more frivolous. He wonders whether he should blow an imaginary $2500 windfall on a new computer or a special special edition of the complete works of Robert Heinlein. I could care less about the question at hand, but it did get me thinking about who’s work I would pay $2500 to have a complete set. That’s a bit of a tough question. I have many favorite authors, most of whom I’d like to have a complete set of books from, but an all inclusive (letters, stories, articles, etc.) set is a different beast.
In my field, the top of the list would probably be Lawrence Block. Since he’s had such a long and varied career I think it would be cool to have a collection of all of his work over the years. The other author, not necessarily in my field, is Stephen King. While it’s been hit or miss with me over the years regarding his novels, I would love to have a collection of all the little bits and pieces of work he’s done over the years. Stephen King is my favorite writer who writes about writing. My favorite King books have writers as protagonists (yes, I know that doesn’t exactly narrow the field) and I love reading his forwards and afterwards and between words about his work.
What author would you like to have a complete collection of?