Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Working the Words

Writing is probably the most inexact art form.

As a writer I have an image in my mind, or an emotion I wish to convey. I go to the keyboard and attempt to translate these images and ideas into the written English word. It's tough work.

Depending on the strength of the subject I can hope for something approximating what's going on in my mind finding any success in the translation. I write pretty much every day, and every time I work on my writing I find that I'm constantly struggling to make these ideas find their translation from thought to the page.

I'm a better writer now than I was at any point in my youth. I'm a better writer now than I was when I was in my twenties. I'm a better writer now than I was yesterday. But that doesn't make it any easier.

Over those years I've found that I use less words to convey my thoughts onto the page. At times, it seems that I've been slowly making the transition from short story writer to poet. Save for the fact that I enjoy working in the novel form, I would probably have long ago turned my hand exclusively to poetry. Those guys seem to have achieved what so many novelists can only fail to prove.

Once, I heard James Dickey say that poetry was the highest calling to which Mankind can aspire. At the time, I dismissed that sentiment. But now I think that he was right. To crystallize an emotion into a handful of words is something unique and beautiful. The longer I live the more I find myself admiring the writers who struggle with a few lines to convey the things foremost in their minds.

4 comments:

dogboy443 said...

Our man Bukowsky, what a face!

HemlockMan said...

Yeah, Bukowski was one of a kind. I'm glad I discovered his work before he croaked. It was great to read that stuff when it was still new and you felt that he would deliver another batch any month.

Tracy said...

beautifully and perfectly written.

HemlockMan said...

Thanks!