There's a great post by my buddy Kerry Newcomb over on the Western Fictioneers blog this morning. I'm lucky enough to have known Kerry for thirty years now and have heard him tell this story in person, along with many others. I've seldom laughed as hard as I have when Kerry would start telling stories.
In fact, that got me to thinking about some of the other times I've laughed so hard. Fall down on the floor laughter. One name that immediately springs to mind is Joe R. Lansdale. Guys like Joe and Kerry are great writers, but sitting down and just listening to them talk is incredibly entertaining. The wonderful voice that you find in their writing comes through unfiltered, and it's even more enthralling. That's one more reason I'm glad I became a writer. It's given me the opportunity to just sit and listen.
I was at a convention a couple of years ago where as one of the programming items, Joe sat down with Bill Crider, Neal Barrett Jr., and Joe Haldeman, and they just swapped stories for a couple of hours while a large audience listened and was very entertained. That was the highlight of that convention for me.
Of course, not all writers are great talkers. Some of us are more likely to just sit there quietly and take it all in. I fall into that category. But I'm very grateful for the yarn-spinners and glad that I've been able to spend time in their company.
Erle Stanley Gardner on Mysteries
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