Writing Practice and the Muse Who is ALWAYS THERE
(Just be nice to her. Close your eyes and go quietly to the place inside where she blooms)
Writing Leap #44
Hi Writers Who Love Bookstores and Libraries,
I bet that most of us who write choose our next book to read even before we’ve finished reading the one currently open on our lap. We can’t help ourselves. Books are sustenance to writers. We read for the deep pleasure of cuddling in with a book; we read for the wonder of discovering a glorious sentence, plot or character; we read and gasp at how perfectly thought out and evocative a paragraph can be. We take in how it’s done.
We may read badly written books and choose not to finish them. Or we can plow through them and be reminded of the dreariness of reading a text full of cliches, adverb excess, or one-dimensional characters. Do these no-no choices pop up in our own writing from some automatic reflex?
Here are some examples of writing, among a trillion possibilities, that make me bow down to the craft.
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
“Bailey sat wrapped in his decision and anesthetized by youth…I left his room because, and only because, we had said all we could say. The unsaid words pushed roughly against the thoughts that we had no craft to verbalize, and crowded the room to uneasiness.”
Angelous’s fresh take on cliches.
“‘God helps those who help themselves.’ She had a store of aphorisms which she dished out as the occasion demanded. Strangely, as bored as I was with cliches, her inflection gave them something new, and set me thinking for a little while at least.”
P.D. James, Death Comes to Pemberly
“Pratt made no reply to Darcy’s command that he should stay with the chaise but it was apparent that he was unhappy at being left alone and his fear communicated itself to the horses, whose jostling and neighing seemed to Darcy a fitting accompaniment to an enterprise he was beginning to think ill-advised.”
“Every few steps they halted, called out and then listened in silence, but there was no reply. The wind, which had been hardly heard, suddenly dropped and in the calm it seemed that the secret life of the woodland was stilled by their unwonted presence.”
Happy Writing Everybody. May all the treasures you discover in your reading inspire your stories.
What are YOU reading right now? Do you like it? Let me know!
The New York Public Library
On Fifth Avenue in New York City
Don’t forget to touch the lions. They harbor the writer’s muse.
Described as, “A love letter to the pleasures of reading,” Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose is a special book suggested by my writing friend, Bob Zaslow.