Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Now that the holiday season is in full swing, it got me a-thinkin' about the writer's gift. Writers work in relative obscurity; surrounded by loved ones who in my case are bored ad nauseum when I'm in full regalia.
The MCs occupy every spare moment. The blank stare descends & conversation is reduced to the monosyllabic. Especially when an idea sparks. And then it's off to the typing board. But, what is it that keeps us going, keeps us building & learning?
Words & Music - Creativity & the words to bring it to life. It is the marriage of ideas & knowledge. You can't have one without the other in the writer's life. The most beautiful idea falls flat without the words to communicate, elicit emotion & leave the reader feeling triptophanic.
Cohesiveness - Imagine Beethoven, Mozart or Wagner without the ability to string the notes into a semblance of emotional order. We would be left without a palette that inspires & moves. The ebb & flow from inciting incident to conclusion. Every movement is predicated upon the first only to come full circle in the last. The gift wrap, if you will.
Details - Grammar & punctuation can be fixed. Style, voice & storytelling are intrinsic. In the oral tradition, action is tantamount. War, victory, morality - all were told through what the characters did. 'Beowulf', considered the first English epic, demonstrates all of these in the formation of a nation. What moves us? Is it the good v. evil? The hero who abstains from the tankard? Or, is it the way the story is told? All of the above. But, it's also the details - they green the landscape, populate the forests & relay the characters - not to mention the horrifickness that is Grendel & his mama.
Passion - Ask a writer how long they've been writing & the answer is usually tied to childhood & the first pencil. But, it precedes the pencil. Storytelling is a part of who we are. Very few of us would ever claim to be 'just the facts, ma'am' folks. We embellish, exaggerate, work it to our best advantage. And that passion for the story grows as we grow. It moves us from the pencil to the pen to the cyber realm & beyond.
Perseverance - Gotta have it. In the face of every critique, every query, a writer has to have the fortitude to continue slogging through another edit, another rewrite, another round. We connect to other writers; we rely on our loved ones. But at the end of it all, we fill another cup, employee the BIC maneuver & get back to work. Because, when the final product emerges & we smile (not in relief) but in pride, then we can move on to the next.
Here's a toast to the writing gift: When words fail, imagination takes over. When plot thins, solitaire helps. When days are long, a good story gets ya through.