Reading, Writing, and James Patterson

Every time I open my computer I find an ad for a James Patterson writing master class. And now I understand James Patterson has a new venture. He is going to offer children’s books (written by him or one of his minions, I wonder?). Then whomever buys and reads one gets another for free, or something like that. And he’s doing this to motivate kids to read, or read more.

Okay, who am I to question a fellow’s motives? Still . . . I know Patterson came from an advertising background. Therefore, I doubt his motive is altruistic. And sure, I’m in the minority, but I don’t consider reading an especially glorious activity unless we are reading work that takes our minds in some upward direction, toward knowledge, wisdom, compassion, or the ability to recognize beauty. I mean, reading for excitement or laughs is fine, but not particularly laudable.

And a master class? If somebody wants to master the subject of writing through classes, they had better figure on lots more than one class. Besides, James Patterson is not so much a master of writing as a master of selling and writing what sells. I’m dismayed by the thought of aspiring writers learning their craft from someone who has not proven he can make art but has proven he is a master of business.

If, at some point, James Patterson taught a class called mastering the writing business, I would take it. Meanwhile, isn’t there a law that demands truth in advertising?

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