"Frankly, I learned to write with my middle finger up. I'd had it with the changing fads I never fit into. I didn't want to do what the how-to books told me to do. I didn't aim or outline. I didn't learn a formula for fiction. I didn't read the right books for pleasure. I didn't join internet writing groups. I stayed away from advice and articles and books about writing. This wasn't about selling. It was about learning. So I wrote – what I wanted to write – with my middle finger extended."
And, for anyone who's interested in seeing what Ms. King's writing looks like when she's got her central digit fully extended, here's a tiny bit Dust.
7 – The Invasion of Doctor Lambert
The psychologist my mother sent me to was a nice guy, I guess. He was about six foot three with a soft, rounded plump in the middle, and he wore a pair of round framed glasses that he would occasionally push up with his middle finger.
My first visit was the slowest fifty minutes I ever lived through. I didn't want to say too much, so I let him ask the usual questions between bouts of silence.
"Saffron, why do you think you're here?"
"Because my mother is worried about me." Short and sweet – try not to show too much angst while already popping his fingernails off, one by one, with an awl.
"Because she wants me to be a doctor."
"And you don't want that?"
"What do you want to be?" he asked, realizing how condescending he sounded a second too late. "I mean, what are you interested in?"
"Lots of stuff."
I listed a few things. I talked about my favorite classes, history and advanced chemistry, but didn't name any one thing, then said, "I know what I want to do. I just want to do it, that's all. I don't want to talk about it for months and months before I do it."
"But you can't just go to college without planning," he said quite seriously. "You have to talk about it with someone."
"It's not college."
He smiled at me. He had trustworthy eyes, a brown sort of hazel, with a twinkle. They nearly made me want to stop seeing myself whipping him with his own severed forearm.
"Let's talk about school for a minute."
"What about it?"
"Your mother says you do very well."
"I do. It's easy."
"So, you're bored, then?"
"Yeah. You could say that," I said, looking around his disheveled office. "What's that?"
He turned around to see what I was looking at, and explained, "It's an eighteenth-century chest brought from Europe by my great grandfather."
"Are those brass?" Brass catches like Emer's chest.
"I believe so. Have you seen one before?"
"In museums and stuff," I lied.