When my friend Tom Flynn suggested I read Louis L’Amour’s Education of a Wandering Man, I scoffed. Why would I want to read the autobiuography of a western writing hack?
Boy, was I wrong, and I’ve since apologized to Tom. L’Amour’s book is a fun, even thrilling read, as he recounts his roustabout education in the years leading up to becoming a working writer.
L’Amour walked across the desert, fought as an amatuer boxer, was a WW II officer and yes, a wandering man. There’s a great scene where he recounts sharing a camp with another wannabe writer, who was always moaning. L’Amour disliked the guy, and thought he was a wimp.
One great idea I got from the book: L’Amour shares how he picked up the habit of reading while waiting — for the bus, in line, etc. He read more than two dozen books in one year using this method of making ht emost out of normally wasted time.
After reading this, I tried some of his fiction, including Hondo. I didn’t really like too much of it, except for Walking Drum and Last of the Breed.