Thanks to Ben Sobieck, whenever anybody asks me to sign a book with writing advice — or sometimes when I just feel like it — I’ve been signing ‘em with the inscription, “Leave hair on the walls.”
Which I’m pretty sure has confused some people. But they really oughtta know better than to ask me for advice on anything.
Anyway, for clarity’s sake, I stole it from this passage in James Lee Burke’s Swan Peak.
Quince tried to make sense out of what was happening to him. Only seconds earlier, he had been the “new” Quince Whitley, in control, dressed like a gunfighter, painted with magic, the giver of death. Now he lay in a parking lot, his skin burning, far from the place of his birth, a girl – no, a bitch – and a half-breed staring down at him, their faces dour with disgust and loathing, not because of what he had tried to do but because of what he was – a failure, unwanted in the womb, despised at birth, raised in a world where every day he had to prove he was better than a black person.
What does a Whitley do when he doesn’t have anything else to lose?
He could almost hear his uncle’s voice: “That one’s easy, boy. Leave hair on the walls.”
That may not make a thing clearer, but I stand by it as the best writing advice I could possibly give.