Dear God, she's waxing philosophical again. Somebody get this girl a vodka tonic.

First off, let me say that, yanno, *raises eyebrows* Koontz is pretty damn commercial, isn't he? Even so, that man can still sling the words sometimes. Bending it like Beckham, I mean. Sliding in those little turns of phrases and plot-locking POV shifts that make you nod and go, yeah, man. Okay. Nice.

And this is coming from someone who's not a big reader of He-Who-Shall-Always-Sneak-A-Golden-Retriever-Into-Every-Single-One-Of-His-Books.

The reason I'm not a huge Koontz reader of late is because sometimes his books feel a little too This-Is-How-An-American-Male-Horror-Author-Does-It-Circa-1989. (Just my opinion folks, no hurling rocks here, I still fucks wit a Koontz novel e'ery now and again, sheesh.) 

But also because sometimes it feels like his hunger is gone. Ditto my favorite author, King. (Okay, UNDER THE DOME felt at least a little peckish). I mean, I liked CELL and LISEY'S STORY and DUMA KEY, etc. (and still love the eye-closing sweetness of that familiar King voice) but the latter part of the King canon feels a little too much like the hunger is gone for him, too. The hunger that made me feel the weight of Roland's big ol guns or smell the furious oil of a certain Plymouth Fury. The hunger that made me, in turn, devour his pages. Now, the taste lingers, but the hunger is gone.

And I wonder about that. Worry actually. About the thing that happens when you've written your way through the angst of your 20s and the bills of your 30s and the swiftly-shifting political parties of your 40s and into the golf memberships of your 50s--if you've been financially successful in your writing career, I mean. Or that thing that happens if you haven't been successful and all that unpublished angst has burned a bright gold hole into the back of your head through which the sighs of your new yoga breaths gently drain it all away--?

What happens when you get to that point in your career? What I mean is, when you finally see the thing that's waiting on the other side of your ambition. What is that? And if you see it, can you unsee it? Unsee it and catch a little pang that might grow back into the hunger that devours your readers and makes them, in turn, devour your books again? 


What is that thing?

*shivers*

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I just finished reading Koontz's WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS and I wasn't ravenous but I dug it. Nice pace. Nice tension. Nice eldritch little sub-tones. Nice widening gyre. Enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I let it make me start thinking about golden holes in the backs of people's heads.

*narrows eyes*

Well played, Mr. Koontz. Well played.

7 comments:

Misha | February 6, 2011 at 6:27 AM

Hmmm... Good question.

I have wondered about that as well.

Will being a successful author kill my love and talent for writing?

Scary thought.

Alex J. Cavanaugh | February 6, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Sounds like the same thing that happens with rock musicians - the angst of youth gives way to the complacency of maturity, and they lose their edge and appeal.

Vicki Rocho | February 6, 2011 at 10:24 AM

I used to read a lot of King and Koontz and you're right, they changed. I haven't read either of them for awhile. You summed it up very well.

Zoe C. Courtman | February 6, 2011 at 12:25 PM

Welcome back, guys. Thanks for visiting this hoary old corner of the blogosphere :) But to ask again, what do we do about that waning hunger? Is there any way to guard against it??

Roland D. Yeomans | February 6, 2011 at 12:33 PM

You guard against the dying of the light by growing as an author -- by competing with yourself to be better (because to stop growing is to start dying.)

And the longer you write, the more apt your present book will turn out to be your last book. And do any of us want our last book to be stale? Authors are only as good as their last books to publishers, readers, and to themselves.

We can't be yesterday's wine, but we can be tomorrow's dream. If we do not give up on growing.

Good to see you back, Roland

Alleged Author | February 6, 2011 at 1:56 PM

I always loved that Koontz sneaks in Golden Retrievers. I, personally, LOVED King's Under the Dome. While the boys are feeling a bit antiquated sometimes, they still have the ability to pen phenomenal reads. I can only hope to write like them some day!

Vegetarian Cannibal | February 6, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Hrmmm....yeah, I think some artists (authors included) get "soft" when they no longer have to work very hard to market themselves. Dean Koontz can sneeze onto a paper, and probably make money off that. He doesn't have to try anymore. Not like us. Through our ambition, our blood, sweat, and tears...we hone our craft, fighting for every inch we gain forward. That struggle makes you a better artist, I think. You're right about the "hunger."

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