Friday, July 27, 2012

Education of a Wandering Man

Only halfway through a remarkable book, "Education of a Wandering Man" by Louis L'Amour.  I'm not a big fiction fan or a western fan.  I've read a couple of books by Louis L'Amour and thought he was a good writer, sometimes compelling... but this is amazing.

It isn't really a biography.  And it isn't really about other books or reading or writing.  In "Education" L'Amour talks about his life, wandering and trying to work before and during the Great Depression.  He talks about the people he met and the stories he heard and the books he read.  All true.  But it's not about any of those.  Were it about any of those subjects, he could have gone much deeper.

The book is about the process of learning, of becoming.  Education, in L'Amour's eyes (and mine) is a process of learning to see and to think.
"One thing has always been true: That book or that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour

Reading.  Meeting folks.  Listening to stories.  L'Amour was active at a time when you could still run into Old West gunfighters, when the last of the cowboys were still around and getting eager with age to talk.

It hasn't changed.  He writes about talking to an old lawman about a massacre and I reminded of graveyard shifts, one spent with an old OSS veteran, the other with a Pacific Theater ace.  There are people with stories to share.  There is much of the world to see and taste...

A good kick in the pants to those who want to become story tellers.


Josh K. said...

What I love about Louis L'Amour is that every single place in his books is or was a real place, that if you so wish you can folloow the trails of the charactors in his books.

daedalus said...

Thanks for mentioning LL's book. I read it 7-8 years ago when a manager of our local coffee shop mentioned it to me: 'I notice you are always reading something. Let me suggest an interesting book ...'

Ah!, Education of a Wandering Man.