Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Definition of Writing

I've been writing a lot lately. Not just for this blog, but for work and my own pleasure. One could say a wave of inspiration hit me this week and I just can't seem to put my pen down or close the lid to my laptop.

And it's wonderful.

I can't remember the last time I felt so clear that the words in my mind automatically migrated to the screen. In addition to this experience, I have been coming across insightful quotes and poems that try to explain what "writing" is.

I would like to share:

The Black Art
A woman who writes feels too much,
those trances and portents!
As if cycles and children and islands
weren't enough; as if mourners and gossips
and vegetables were never enough.
She thinks she can warn the stars.
A writer is essentially a spy.
Dear love, I am that girl.

A man who writes knows too much,
such spells and fetiches!
As if erections and congresses and products
weren't enough; as if machines and galleons
and wars were never enough.
With used furniture he makes a tree.
A writer is essentially a crook.
Dear love, you are that man.

Never loving ourselves,
hating even our shoes and our hats,
we love each other, precious, precious.
Our hands are light blue and gentle.
Our eyes are full of terrible confessions.
But when we marry,
the children leave in disgust.
There is too much food and no one left over
to eat up all the weird abundance. 

This poem is by my favorite poet, Anne Sexton. As stated before, I believe her to be one of the most talented writers in the world. I could talk forever about why I love her work -- but in short, it's because she is honest.

And I believe honesty is the number one rule in writing. It applies to everything. Journalists have to be honest -- or at least they should be -- in their stories. Authors have to be honest -- especially in the characters they portray. And poets need to be honest -- or else readers will see right through it.

Lastly, here are a two quotes that I think define what writing is:  

Language is to the mind more than light is to the eye
-William Gibson
We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
-Ernest Hemingway


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