Thank A Writer

Earlier this month at the MTV Movie Awards, it was refreshing to hear stars of the movie “The Hunger Games” thank the novelist Susan Collins for creating their characters. It was refreshing because writers don’t always get the credit they deserve.

Entertainment Weekly magazine has a feature that lists funny lines recently uttered on TV. Usually, these are lines that were delivered by talk show hosts or sitcom characters. How many of those people actually wrote the words? Probably none. Who actually did write them? You’ll have to watch the shows’ credits to find out.

A well-known country music star several years ago had a career song that earned numerous awards. At one awards show, it wasn’t until he went up to collect his third trophy of the night that he finally remembered to thank the song’s writer. The song was funny, but also sad and poignant. The singer gave a killer performance, but it wouldn’t have happened without the writer.

Good writing can provoke a variety of human responses. I can recall rereading passages in Cormac McCarthy’s book The Road several times, just because of his magnificent writing. I’ve also been blown away by genius writing in something as common as a radio spot.

Learn to appreciate well-written works in all their various forms: From a three-word tagline in an advertisement to a classic novel. From an efficiently-written crime story in the newspaper to a love song whose lyrics relate to your life. From a Twitter post that catches your attention to an email from someone you work with.

If you have the opportunity to show appreciation, do it. Several hundred people turned out this week in St. Louis to meet and greet writer Buzz Bissinger. One of the reasons they came was to tell him they like his work. I recently mentioned to Post-Dispatch movie critic Joe Williams how much I liked his memoir posted on about being in L.A. during the 1992 riots.

When you have a chance to express thanks for good writing, do so. Whether it’s a comment to a co-worker in the hallway or a “like” on a Facebook post, let ‘em know.















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