As a Welshman who was always keen to read I naturally loved Dylan Thomas of course. I recall one of my two great English teachers, a lovely man called Terry King, (he was playing Devil's advocate on this occasion I think) informing us that someone had recently accused Dylan Thomas of being a phoney. There was a shocked silence! This maniac's reason for denouncing the great Welsh bard? He had worked out that the numbers habitually scrawled by the side of Thomas's poetical works in progress were in fact references to various pages in Roget's Thesaurus. His conclusion: that Dylan Thomas was therefore a fraud! My view hasn't changed, it's exactly the same now as it was when I was fourteen - basically, that we all have access to our aide-memoires i.e. dictionaries, the thesaurus, but it's 'choosing' where to put the darn words once we've got 'em is the real secret!
When I read Steinbeck it flows so easily that he makes me think writing must be such a simple thing to do. Cormac McCarthy has a poetic feel to what he writes, yet at the same time it's clean and straightforward, he doesn't use much punctuation but weirdly it works like a dream. Dylan Thomas's writing often piles noun after noun on top of each other as if they were adjectives to describe other nouns. These are just three of the many writers I admire. In their written works they pick and utilise words like the skilful craftsmen they are. Each of these writers is completely different, and in his own unique way uses words economically. This is the one thing they all have in common! I adore reading all three.
The following is a treat for anyone who loves word-play - the late, great, comedy writer/actor Ronnie Barker performing a sketch I've always loved: