Sunday, August 29, 2010

Louis L'Amour and His Writing

I grew up with Louis L'Amour. What I mean is, my father, John read paperback books all the time, and he always read the latest Louis L'Amour books. He read Westerns: L'Amour, Max Band, Zane Grey, and author's names I do not recall. In the evenings Daddy always had a book in his hands. He'd read and was very much a mult-tasker (like me), who could watch TV and read, and maybe answer a question or two after some thought, and about the time I would think he didn't hear my question he would give me an answer.

Louis L'Amour is considered to be on of the world's most popular writers. He is the only American-born novelist in history to receive both the Congressional Gold Medal (1982) and Presidential Medal of Freedom (1984). He published ninety novels, thirty short-story collections, two works of nonfiction, a memoir, Education of a Wandering Man, and a volume of poetry. I've read there are about 300 million copies of his books in print.

Just after his death in 1988, at the age of 80, his daughter Angelique L'Amour published A Trial of Memories, The Quotations of Louis L'Amour, which included a Foreword by Louis L'Amour.

In 1987 an article by Donald Dale Jackson was published in the Smithsonian Magazine and here is a quote from it. (You can find the full article at the Official Louis L'Amour website)

"L'Amour is up at 6 and at the typewriter by 7 every morning, batting out the five to ten pages he produces daily. He halts at noon and resumes for an hour and a half after lunch before he quits and heads for his gym to lift weights and pedal a stationary bike. He never works from a plot outline, preferring to improvise as a story unfolds. 'I start with a character and a situation, but I don't know what's' going to happen until I write it. Sometimes things happen that surprise me.'"

"He believes he may only now be achieving "full command" of his craft; indeed, his current books are among his best. 'It's like a ballet dancer who learns technique and becomes a superior technician, and then the change comes,' he says. 'The dancer becomes the dance. It's not the technique anymore, the music is part of her. I feel that as a writer, that it's all there now - I am the writing.'"

I like his quote on the music and the dance....

One year when Don Pendleton was on a book tour, Louis L'Amour had been on the same tour visiting book distributors all over the country, just a few days before Don. Everywhere Don went he heard repeatedly what a great, likable man L'Amour was.

Have you read any Louis L'Amour?


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