I’m back listening again to The Writer’s Almanac. It’s fun and heartening for anyone writing, whether that’s in a journal or something larger. In addition to reading a poem every day, the host, Garrison Keillor, always includes anecdotes about writers, how we fumble and fail, stumble on success or don’t. If you write to be published, there is an enormous amount of work that is completely unseen, that which is dropped, changed, rewritten dozens of times. Anyway, this quote was up on the site, and it touched a nerve.
Writers end up writing stories or rather stories’ shadows, and they’re grateful if they can, but is is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough.
I think it’s speaking of the gap between the vision and the finished project…….do you know what I mean? Is it always impossible to grasp the vision? An artist I know says she has learned she can’t control creativity. What do you think?
Posted in Before Versailles, Dark Angels, Karleen Koen, Now Face to Face, Through A Glass Darkly
Tagged "Garrison Keillor", books, creativity, fiction, Karleen Koen, science, The Writers' Almanac, touching the vision, writing, writing process
I’ve been trying to follow the advice I give students; read poetry if you want to improve your writing style. So, every day (and it doesn’t happen every day, but it happens more often than not), I read an online poem from The Writers’ Almanac or leaf through a book of poetry Garrison Keillor put together from that show. Sometimes, I’m struck to the heart with a turn of phrase or a use of metaphor. I share this, four lines only of a longer poem that struck me this week when I read them…….
….but mostly you play to drunks,
to the night, to the way you judge
and pardon yourself, to all that goes
not unsung, but unrecorded.
It’s from The Accompanist by poet William Matthews. When I read it, those last four lines spoke to me, spoke to what I do for a living, write. So often it seems I write into this vacuum. For whom? Why? There’s a long time between starting a book and seeing it between covers. Whatever publicity I might do is very limited compared to the amount of time I’ve spent conceiving and writing a novel. There are always people who don’t like it or understand it. Why don’t you write books about contemporary times? I’m asked. Or why don’t you write shorter books? Or why don’t you write faster? Why did you do this or that? I don’t know the answer to any of those questions. I suppose when writing no longer pays, I’ll do something else. But will I? All my jobs have had writing as their component; it’s just that in some of them, others told me what to write, and I arranged facts in a nice, readable manner. Different from playing in the piano bar late at night, for you don’t know who or why……
Posted in Before Versailles, books, creativity, Dark Angels, fiction, historical fiction, Houston, Karleen Koen, life, Now Face to Face, story, story and life, story and writing, Through A Glass Darkly, writing, writing process
Tagged "Garrison Keillor", fiction, poetry, the value of poetry, The Writers' Almanac, why write, William Matthews, writing when you don't feel like it, wrting in the dark