So, I posted an article last July during the 2011 Tour de France. And now that I’ve returned from my travels to Turkey and Greece (and have my 47-inch HDTV and TiVo locked in to record every stage of this year’s Tour), I thought I’d repost.
So, I figure you either know that word or you don’t.
If you do, then you probably won’t need to read any further because I’ll bet you’re already familiar with the fellow sitting over there to the left. That’s author Elmore Leonard, he of the four dozen mega-popular crime and suspense novels, many of which have been adapted into equally mega-popular movies. Books like Get Shorty and Mr. Majestyk and Out of Sight. And he’s screenwritten and collaborated on and executive produced a ton of screenplays for the big and small screens. Such as the awesome series Justified on FX right now.
Well, the reason I bring him up is that I was cleaning out some files over the weekend and came across an article he wrote detailing his 10 Rules of Writing. It’s actually titled, WRITERS ON WRITING; Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle.
Ah, see, now you get it. The whole hooptedoodle thing. Well, if you don’t yet, you will. Just click on Mr. Leonard’s photo there and you’ll be whisked away to the New York Times and the original article. Writers: you’ll find sage wisdom there, from a pro among pros. Non-writers: it’s still a great article. And you never know . . .
So, I had a work gig a few days ago in the uber-rural town of Price, Utah, the political seat and largest town in Carbon County. I left my hotel in Provo, home of Brigham Young University, at 7:30am actually looking forward to 90 minutes of digital downtime. I’d been warned the Highway 6 route through tall-walled Spanish Fork Canyon plays havoc with reliable cell signals, and I was hoping for a quiet respite from my usual endless drone of phone calls and emails.
Before I knew it four paved lanes had narrowed to two, shoulders steepened, side-roads disappeared, and recently-patched asphalt began a serpentine wander through a desolate, rocky landscape straight out of some John Wayne oater. Stratified layers of limestone and shale towered above me on either side, their near vertical cliffs streaked with rosy pink sandstone. The occasional glitter of pyrite and mica flecks sparkled when the morning sunlight caught it just so. And then suddenly the steep walls dropped away and revealed an astonishing vista of ancient mesas more numerous than I could ever imagine.
So, I’m standing in my driveway the other day when the 7-year old neighbor girl four houses around the cul-de-sac comes scurrying down her driveway, tennis shoes a-fly, and banks right on to the sidewalk heading my direction. Her little hand clutched a bright yellow personal walkie-talkie, the kind that all the moms and dads are using these days to stay in touch with their neighborhood-roving kids. I knew she had a couple of BFFs (can 7-year olds have BFF’s?) on the street right behind ours and figured she was heading over there for a visit. As she got closer to me the pattering of her feet abruptly slowed and she screeched to a halt. Seriously. I could swear I heard this little screech sound.
And then this sweet little girl and I had an exchange of words which simply and profoundly altered the next couple of hours of my life.
First off, I’m not a biker. My tender ass doesn’t mesh well with the cushion-less saddles and my aging physique swathed in multi-colored LYCRA would only lead to much chuckling. No, I write suspense thrillers. And that’s exactly why the Tour de France is
some of the best television I’ll ever experience.
J’adore Le Tour de France. And so will you. Here’s why: