On Writing is lovely. It’s a plain-English guide to Stephen King’s writing rituals and rules, an endearing look into his life, and also a fun bit of insider baseball about the writing industry. King is humble and realistic throughout. He came to writing from a working-class background, so has a great balance of passion for the craft and basic practicality.
I read Bird by Bird before this one, and enjoyed it tremendously too. They cover similar ground - and Lamott quotes King - but are both sort of showcases for the personalities and quirks of the authors. Reading both is really worthwhile.
Another small note. Everything always tracks back to the absolute necessity of reducing car culture. People should lose their drivers licenses after demonstrating a lack of competence at the wheel. People should drive less, and cars should be removed from city centers. Towns should stop building roads as shortcuts, and adding lanes to highways.
I bring this up again because of the end - how a reckless driver nearly killed Stephen King, a driver who already had over ten offenses on his record. And then was slated to get his license back.
It’s imperative to shift our understanding of driving. Driving carelessly is like keeping an unlocked gun in a home with kids. Killing people from behind the wheel of a car should be prosecuted like other forms of manslaughter. It should be hard to get a drivers license, and easy to lose it if you’re not careful. Cars are one of our greatest mistakes.