I read a lot of blogs in my ventures through internet land. I have been reading more and more of them lately, as I look for potential contributors for A Canvas Of The Minds, my other project. By the way, I read them thoroughly and this takes time, so if you feel like I’ve overlooked you, your invitation just may not have been post-marked yet – so why don’t you make all of our lives easier by contacting me already?
I have very few things in my life that will fill me with the wrath of God. Despite my venting here, generally I’m pretty mellow. I came across something in my perusing that flipped that switch recently, though. I read a post where a blogger said writing was such a great form of therapy because it didn’t require any talent! Or words to that effect. I’m not sure, I make a point of not quoting idiots. But I took a deep breath and counted to one million and realized that this person was merely broadcasting their ignorance, nothing more.
They’re right, in a way. Writing doesn’t require any talent. Pretty much any moron can do it (and lots of them do). It’s good writing which demands talent. I mean, you don’t have to take my word. You could poke the souls of Dickens or Austen or Kerouac or Wharton or Hardy or Virgil or Vonnegut or Twain and ask them their opinions.
Writing, in case you’ve missed it, is not just One Of The Things in my life. It’s The Thing In My Life. It is my life, in more ways than I could ever detail for you, in more ways than I could ever detail for the rest of my days – although I will undoubtedly never cease trying. I write for lots of reasons, but the main one being Robert Heinlein’s, “. . . Because it hurts less to write than it does not to write.” The full quote, along with a few others that relate, can be found on my page Thoughts From People Wiser Than I.
Would I like to have my words published in my lifetime? Of course. Would I like to be able to support myself and live off of them? Sure. Will I keep writing if I am rejected by every publishing house ever to exist and not a soul ever reads my thoughts, not even my very best friends? Absolutely. I will die if I don’t. My soul will wither and I will cease to be. I want very much for people to relate to and enjoy what I say, but I write because I am a writer. It is my vocation and my calling and my gift and my everything. I have suspected this for all of my life, and I had it confirmed from within and without at a very young age.
I don’t profess myself to be a genius, but I do possess a gift, far more so than even the one I have for photography (detailed in my last post, Magic, Part One - how clever I am with these titles). You may recognize it or not in this medium. When I blog, I literally write whatever flies from my mind to my fingertips. An idea may cook in my brain, but I don’t plan or outline or work at it. An 800 word post is generated easily in under an hour, and probably it would take about 20 minutes if I weren’t a very slow, two-fingered typist. And I don’t edit, at least not for style or content. I read back for grammatical or spelling errors, but beyond that the most I ever do is clarify something slightly. I have a policy of not changing content, the same as my policy regarding photography mentioned in the post prior to this one. All of this is meant not as bragging, but to give a rough metric for comparison. If you find something valuable in what you read here, you ought to read the things I actually think about and work at!
There is one thing, though, that I do work at (even here), because I cannot help it. Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug.” Also on the page (page, not post) referenced above. I don’t try to explain this one, generally, but today I will because it’s a piece of the magic in being a writer.
I call it “the click.” There is the “almost right word” and the “right word,” and if you have writing as the main thing in your soul, there is “the click.” You may not notice it as such, but it’s there. ”The click” is when you’re trying to get That Word, The Right Word, and you’ve been going through your brain and your thesaurus and anything and everything you can think to go through, and all at once you hit upon it. And something inside of you just clicks and you know you have your lightning. It can be a big word or a little word, an integral piece or one that seems not to be too crucial to the reader or even yourself – sometimes your only clue is that you were so determined that you spent hours or days or months looking for the word.
I have a policy of not altering what I post here after I hit Publish, unless I spot a spelling or grammatical mistake that is glaringly obvious after the fact. I may go back and re-read and think of something I wish I had written differently, but I don’t change it. On very rare occasions I will find that something really does need altered, usually for accuracy, but when I have done that, I have always marked what I changed with an asterisk and added an explanation at the bottom of the post. Again, integrity.
I don’t know that this post explains magic the way the previous one did, which is why it has a parenthetical in the title. Writing is the thing I’m best at doing and worst at explaining. Loving I am incredible at, but I can explain why, easily. I think. I guess I’ll have to try sometime. But this last paragraph just gave me my moral.
Moral or the story: ”Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” ~ Franz Kafka
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