I Can See You’re a Writer


She said, my new acquaintance, as we walked toward the Metro, Champs-Elysees Clemenceau, smiling at me.

I cocked my head and stopped mid-description, also taking personal note to come back to this particular Metro stop, there was some statuary I wanted to get a closer look at.

“You’re a storyteller, and I find myself wanting to listen, you have a way with words,” she concluded.

“Words with way, you have,” Steve Martin said.

Love me some Steve Martin.

We tumbled down the steps to the train station, I stopped right before the gates to dig through my purse to locate my wallet with my upgraded Navigo in it.

Another month in Paris.

Another month of Metro travel.

I get off on zooming through the gates, banging my wallet down on the scanner, listening to the bright beep that says, yes, you, yes, are allowed between these hallowed gates to ride the fabled Paris Metro trains, welcome.

The time saved on not having to buy tickets or stare in confusion at the signs or having to pester the train agents.

I have probably already saved a days time here in Paris just on the expediency upon which I move through the Metro.  I have even gone so far as to realize which cars I should get on to be at the right tunnel to make my connection or my exit.

Thereby avoiding the gaggle of Japanese tourists with their clatter of heavy paper bags, glossed and embossed with logos of high-end French finery, the occasional Gap or H&M plastic bag wrapped loosely in their grips, as they stand blocking the flow of foot traffic in front of the exit signs on the platform.

“Do you have a Navigo?”  She asked.

“Yup,” I replied, “upgraded for March and ready to go, just have to dig it out.”

“Zones 1 & 2?” She queried further.

I nodded my head.

“Excellent, on the weekends you can go beyond the periphery without charge, you are going to come out to my place in the country, I live in Fontainebleau.” She said as I finally located my wallet and swung it onto the scanner, which lit up with green arrows and a trill of payment, the gates open and I slid by.

Just like that, a weekend in the country.

This is what happens when you start talking books with someone.

This is what happens when I speak my truth, I get invited to country homes in France?

What the hell?

I am going to start speaking my truth all over the place.

I have writers honesty on my mind.

I have begun reading Stephen Kings “On Writing.”

No, that’s not correct, I am three-quarters finished with it.  I started reading it last night on the Metro.  I got in about thirty or forty pages.  Today I kicked through another hundred twenty pages.

I will be done with it tomorrow.

I am happy to report that I am already doing a lot, almost everything, that he is suggesting.

This is what I suspected when it was recommended to me by two people I hold in regard.

I did a number of google searches and the excerpts from the book as well as the continued literary acclaim had me convinced that I needed to read it.

I am a Stephen King fan.

I proudly admit that right here, right now.

I have been a King fan since the first book of his I picked up.


I was too young to read it and you could not have stopped me from reading it anyhow.

I was too young to read a lot of things that I managed to get my hands on.

Dead Ringers, anyone?

Nothing about twin brother sadist gynecologists says fit for a ten-year old.

Ok, maybe I was eleven.

I know I was not twelve, the summer of my thirteenth year, I got my period.

I had read Dead Ringers the summer before.

I also read some Erica Jong too, before my mom caught onto the fact that her eldest daughter was pilfering books off her nightstand.

I read everything Stephen King had written that was in the library at DeForest High School.

I found the Bachman books, I found myself later identifying with the main character from the Long Walk in the book and reference it in my own book, Baby Girl.

My favorite high school history teacher, who was not abashed to admit he had actually voted for Nixon, would give me the tsk-tsk shake of his head whenever he saw that I was reading another King book.

“Ms. Martines, Mister King again?”  He would drift down the aisles looking at the presidents and posters of people of importance lining the classroom, “isn’t it time you read something else?”

I tried to hoodwink him when I found Talisman, a King/Peter Straub collaboration.

He was not fooled.

One day I trembled with anticipation waiting for my teacher to walk by.

I had finished all the Stephen King in the library and was now reading “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

“What trash are you reading today, Ms. Martines,” he asked lifting the title page off the desk with his wood pointer.

I have never seen eyebrows rise so high.

“Well,” he said, drawing out the word, “I must say I am pleasantly surprised, keep up the good work.”  He smiled at me and I roasted in his warm approval.

I still went off and read everything Stephen King I could find when given the chance, and in the horror genre add to that list all the Peter Straub and Dean Koontz I could get my hands on.  Koontz was an easy catch on, he was right next to King in the stacks.

I once said if I were to go to get a doctorate in English Literature or a Masters, I would do my final thesis on his oeuvre.

Hands down, no question.

If anyone has influenced my writing more, I probably could not tell you.

I read a lot.

A lot.

All part of being a writer.

I got my approval today, I have been allowing in more and more of it in my quest to become a better writer.  Reading is part of being a great writer.

Let me rephrase, a good writer.

I don’t know that I will be a great writer.

But I do know I will be a good writer.

I do it already for the sheer pleasure of it.  I moved across the world to sit at a folding table covered in green cloth with a bamboo stick mat on it with my computer and notebooks and pens to do it.

I sit on a folding chair in Paris.

I finally gave myself permission and you are not taking it away from me.

I am going to be a good writer.

I am.

I have a tool chest full of tools and I am practising every day.

Every day.

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