Taking advice from Walter – Book Review

8276784._UY200_.jpg This book caught my eye at the library the other day.

It was facing out, so instead of a book’s usual standoffish, spine only stance, this one stared me right in the face.

“So it’s my year?” I said to the book, mockingly.   I picked it up, added it to my growing stack and read it in an hour that same night.  Before you get all impressed with that let me point out, it’s only 103 pages long.

I found it a strange little book.  It’s not a time management plan nor is it very inspirational.  It’s kind of a how to, but more of a “how I would do it,” “I” being Walter Mosley.

One of the oddest parts for me was when he gave examples of a possible plots…

Say you want to write a story about a young family being raped, tortured and blinded.  Several members are killed and the two that escape then live absolutely horrible lives constantly haunted by the trauma they endured. 


For example, let’s say you have a plot about a stupid, young woman who is attempting to empty out her college fund to give to her worthless boyfriend, who has recently been jailed in an underage prostitution sting. 

I’m sorry….what?  I read these sections through twice just to make sure I hadn’t fallen asleep and was having a nightmare.

Wow!  Those are  pretty extreme examples of  plot lines, aren’t they,  Walter? 

I almost put the book down at this point, but it was only 103 pages long and I would think myself a bit cowardly if I didn’t finish 103 pages….so I read on.

Mosely goes on to show how you(he) could takes such horrific images and craft them into redeeming fiction.  So, good for you, Walter.  

And I never really got how any of the book related to me.

A struggler, an attempter, a person who would love to get published, but faces insecurity and doubt.  In other words, a fellow artist who looks towards the Walter Mosely’s of the world for guidance and inspiration, not examples of how good they already are.

For me, the book felt just like that project from elementary school you were all excited about, but when you asked your mom for help, she took it over and didn’t listen to any of your suggestion because she was “helping you make it better, honey.”

So you ended up with a poster board about Egypt that didn’t look anything like what you had planned, but somehow it had your name on it.




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