Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Boys in the Basement

Stephen King, master of suspense, gave me a great gift when he wrote Bag of Bones (1998).

Bag of Bones is a book about a writer - Mike Noonan - who has a terrible case of writer's block. Mike talks about "the boys in the basement" as "an old trick from my writing days. Work your body, rest your mind, let the boys in the basement do their jobs" (King, 1998, p. 120).

As I see them, those 'boys in the basement' keep thinking and researching and making connections... while we are upstairs doing something else, oblivious in our lives. They turn the basement into an incident room. Our life fragments are in evidence bags: tagged and piled and waiting for connections to fit them into the big picture. Nothing is lost, but it is not necessarily sorted or linked, either.

(In Bag of Bones, the 'boys in the basement' have to break into the cellar to be able to even start their analysis; King, 1998, p. 60).

They keep hard at work and fire up when something doesn't ring true, and shouting up the stairs to us, trying to tell us something is fishy... no: rotten... until we eventually start to listen (King, 1998).

My thinking has sparked a lot of blog posts, often while I am 'supposed' to be doing something else. To me, blogging is free-wheeling time which allows my 'boys in the basement' time to regroup, accurately analyse flaws in my work, and holler up the stairs until I hear them.

Invaluable. Thank you, Mr King.

  • Reference: King, Stephen (1998). Bag of Bones. USA: Scribner.

    I thought I had posted on this topic before, but despite a fairly thorough search, I can find nothing. So hence this late piece to thank Mr King, seventeen years after the inspiration was initially delivered.

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