Tag Archives: word pictures

Lovely Writing–An Example


The lovely writing I am talking about has nothing to do with grammatical rules. Rather, lovely writing is something that takes your breath and makes you fold down the corner of the page. Today I found a brief piece of lovely writing penned by Andra Watkins of http://www.andrawatkins.com.

Andra’s piece takes that which some find unlikable (characteristics of a strong-willed personality) and makes it loveable. Admirable even. It’s a brief excerpt, pulled out of context. Nevertheless, I hope you see the beauty and power in the simplicity of the words.

My Mamaw died a Fighter, sharp edges and ragged claws intact.

It takes a fighting spirit to stare down Death. To dodge the clutch of bony fingers. The strength of the Fighter is easy to admire.

It’s just as likely that Death eschews the spirit of the Fighter. Overblown personalities. Inflexible points of view. Dogged ideas about the World. Sometimes, I suppose, Death decides it’s easier to let Life erode the Fighter’s will.

 

What We Write About When We Write


What we write about when we write.

Please, please take the time to read this wonderful article (click the link above). It explores the agony of creation, the search for the perfect telling of the story, the revisiting of person, place and thing for the sake of getting it right.

Once I concluded my reading of it, I was revived to write. I realized that the wall I am hitting in my work is simply a part of the greater process. Now I embrace the wall, wrapping my arms around it, pressing my chest against its coolness, smelling the stale scents trapped in the paint. By entangling my essence with what stops my writing, I change both the obstacle and my response to it.

Find the Magic in Every Day Items


When we write, our text often references everyday items: a razor, an alarm clock, a shoe or, in the example below, an iron skillet. There isn’t much plainer than a frying pan of cast iron. Nonetheless, master wordsmith Thomas Harris uses the humble kitchen implement as a focal point in a brief passage. Observe what happens to an ordinary skillet when the writer finds the magic in it. From the novel Hannibal by Thomas Harris:

Do you have a black iron skillet? You are a southern mountain girl, I can’t imagine you would not. Put it on the kitchen table. Turn on the overhead lights.

Look into the skillet, Clarice. Lean over it and look down. If this were your mother’s skillet, and it well may be, it would hold among its molecules the vibrations of all the conversations ever held in its presence. All the exchanges, the petty irritations, the deadly revelations, the flat announcements of disaster, the grunts and poetry of love.

Sit down at the table, Clarice. Look into the skillet. If it is well cured, it’s a black pool, isn’t it? It’s like looking down a well. Your detailed reflection is not at the bottom, but you loom there, don’t you? The light behind you, there you are in a blackface, with a corona like your hair on fire.

We are elaborations of carbon, Clarice. You and the skillet and Daddy dead in the ground, cold as the skillet. It’s all still there. Listen.

            — Hannibal Lector in a letter to Clarice Starling