Saturday, June 04, 2005

Contradicting myself: good versus great writing..... 

This topic is the result of one of sol's journal entries. Check the "Journal of solemndragon" link on the upper right of this page, the June 1st entry.

I responded to this entry last night. The response said in part:

...."I will own up to my own poor writing. It wasn't always thus. When I was healthy, the right choice of words came quickly and abundantly. I could write anything I wanted. Had I known my word power would diminish so quickly and profoundly, I would have completed some of the novels and other books I began while I was young.

"Now I can't get my best ideas from brain to paper....the thoughts flash like lightning and then evaporate just as quickly. The few notions that manage to stick with me are just retellings of day to day activity, fine for a blog but not exactly original or interesting ..... I must write myself sane, even if the only audience is me.

"My fave stuff is not necessarily "great". Mostly, it's anything that causes me to completely forget what's going on around me, that amazes me so that I must read it more than once, immediately. It may be a plot that leaves me guessing or takes me someplace completely unexpected. It might be a chapter where I feel as though I really were in someone's head. It might be a song or paragraph that perfectly captures a situation or emotion. Or it might be a single sentence that makes me giggle until I snort.

"I've learned that some of the greatest writers are not people you'd want to hang with. They have an edge to their personality that does not shout "friendly". Maybe their wit and originality can only be expressed on paper, or maybe I'm just too slow in my thinking to converse with them now. On the other hand, some of the friendliest people I know simply cannot express themselves well in print. Those are the ones I ache for, the ones who are trying so very hard and achieve clumsy results at best. I just hope that I fall somewhere in between those extremes.

"When I was a better writer, I used to speculate on what make me famous and what might be ignored. I even had a dream, set in the future, in which I read a bio on myself where my main claim to fame was using the phrase "Frosted Mini-Wheats" in a poem! I no longer worry about whether I'm brilliant. Now I just strive to be understandable."

I've had some time to think about these statements, and I changed my mind about something. There is something lacking in my earlier writings: some seem a bit hollow. Not for lack of effort, but because of my shallow level of life experience. My more recent endeavors, while lacking in eloquence, have an emotional maturity less frequently achieved by the young. I guess there's something to be said for middle age and treachery, eh?

I guess if I can't have it all, I should just appreciate that I have something.

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