Friday, July 19, 2013

"... we begin to see images"

“We read five words on the first page of a really good novel and we begin to forget that we are reading printed words on a page; we begin to see images.” - John Gardner

I like to write beautifully. My daydream of my skills (as opposed to the reality of my skills) is that my writing is so beautiful that people will quote passages as if they are poems.

And then I want to write seamlessly. I want to write like John Gardner describes. I want you to forget you are reading and just be in the story as it goes by.

The second wish is whispered into my ear by my better angel. I do love to read beautiful writing--turns of phrases that catch my breath, descriptions that raise goosebumps--but, frankly, if the story is good I don't like to be reminded that I'm reading. I don't want to hear from the author. I don't want the author sticking her nose into my good time. I don't want her interrupting my adventure, my romance or my mystery.

So when I write I just try to shut up and play my guitar (with apologies to Frank Zappa). I work hard not to interrupt my reader in what I hope is the midst of a good time by not calling attention to the writing itself.

Darn it.

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