Thursday, 18 September 2014

Earl Littman sent me a book…

It’s his first book and he’s 87 years old. He’s American and very proud of being so; he’s a busy, happy man who loves his wife of more than 65 years (“Once I started [writing] I found the bedrock of my existence is the romance with my wife and my family”).

He’s also a patriot. To prove the point and make another, every time you download the book (which is nicely produced by Outskirts Press, in Denver, Colorado), $5.00 of the paperback and ether-sourced cover price goes towards the UK’s equivalent of Help the Heroes. In the US this is the hard-working charity called Back Our Vets. Sixty-five million vets is a lot.

I’m already looking forward to Littman’s next book but let’s deal with this one. As an opener for ten I’d say that Monsieur Littman sits easy in his skin, has vim in his vigour and vice versa, likes himself, loves other people and has written a book that not only demonstrates this but shows others how, without trying too much, they can live happily too. And contribute to make a better world.

I’m not going to tell you the name of the book because it’s going to go viral and soon you’ll know it well enough. And doubtless like it, and often pick it up again (so try for a paperback if you can get one). And you’ll wonder at the ease with which this “FRICTIONal” memoire (not non-fiction and not fiction but carrying a little of the right flick with a non-safety match to light a useful fire built of common sense, passion and a love of sharing) seems to have been written.

I know for a fact, as some ghost clients also know, that when the project is a good one and the purpose is sound, a book can almost write itself. That’s to say that as a ghostwriter I have found the voice, shaped the material and finished the job reasonably quickly; and real character springs from the pages. I think it takes a speedy eye, a stout heart, a flexible mind, plus belief in the subject.

I suspect Earl Littman’s own writing which is fluid and clever, pepped with good imagery (“clouds floated… like eagles”) comes easily enough to him, but he edits his thoughts with care. He uses long sentences sometimes but they flow with their own music. He has a natural ear which suggests he’s a good listener.

I’d like to tell you more but I’ve not finished the book yet – this is an enthusiastic outburst until I can give Earl Littman more time. Meanwhile, thank you very much, Earl, for supplying my next read. 

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