Sometime within the last fifty years, I read an article written by a man who spent an evening visiting socially with John D. MacDonald.
He said what amazed him was not how much he learned about the writer. What amazed him was how much MacDonald learned about him.
MacDonald asked all kinds of questions about the details of his work and life. MacDonald didn’t pry. He was just curious.
As I read MacDonald’s The End of the Night, I marked a passage—
“Have I ever described Kathy’s hands? They were peasant hands, with short, wide, thick palms, stubby fingers. They were soft and beautifully kept, but the care she gave them could not disguise the basic earthy shape of them. The very long curved nails helped a little, but if you noticed them particularly, you saw that they were not pretty hands.”
Those are the words of an observant writer. MacDonald uses those words to characterize the man in whose mouth he puts them.
Of all the work-involved things I’ve done in my 71 years of life, I have most enjoyed putting words on paper. As a person who loves to write, I admire John D. MacDonald. He is an observant writer.