In On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King shares a story about his son, Owen, who, when he was around seven years old, was so inspired by Clarence Clemons, sax player in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, that he asked for his own saxophone and lessons. King and his wife were thrilled. Maybe their son would be a prodigy! But King figured out pretty quickly that it wasn’t going to happen because Owen, he said, only practiced when he had to and never played just for fun during his free time. King didn’t see the point in making his son, who was less than enthusiastic, stick with it. “What this suggested to me was that when it came to the sax and my son, there was never going to be any real play-time; it was all going to be a rehearsal. That’s no good. If there’s no joy in it, it’s just no good. It’s best to go on to some other area, where the deposits of talent may be richer and the fun quotient higher.”
King tells this story to encourage writers to read and read and read. His point is that people who want to become writers should think of reading not as a chore, but as a joyful activity that they should want to do all the time if they’re serious about writing. Duly noted. But this story has always resonated more for me as a parent trying to navigate the endless stream of opportunities available to our kids.[Read more…] about Is it a passion or…not so much?