Wednesday, December 7, 2011
How do they write like that?
"Serve God, love me, and mend."
-William Shakespeare, "Much Ado About Nothing"
"Because nothing true can be said about God from a posture of defense."
"Night and light, silence and difficulty, it seemed to me always rigorous and good."
-Marianne Robinson, "Gilead"
"I was not good at drawing faces. I was just joking most of the time. I was not decisive in changing rooms or anywhere. I was so late because I was looking for flowers. I was just going through a tunnel whenever my mother called. I was not able to make toast without the radio. I was not able to tell if compliments were backhanded. I was not as tired as I said."
-Jonathan Safran Foer, "Here We Aren't, So Quickly"
"If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence."
-George Eliot, "Middlemarch"
"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs."
-Norman Maclean, "A River Runs Through It"
"Think of the force of life, yes, but think of the component of darkness in it. One of the things that's in whale's milk is the promise of pain and death...I shall be richer all my life for this sorrow."
Wallace Stegner, "All the Little Live Things"
How brilliant are these people. Seriously. I mean, what does it take to be the kind of person who can write things like that? Inherent genius? Years and years of practice? An MFA?
It's not like I'm trying to write like someone else. I can only write like me, and that's that. And it's not like there's one guaranteed way to get to that level of poetic genius, or that there's even one set definition of what "genius" is. But still, these peoples writing blows me away, and I want to blow people away too. Or at least get as close as I can. Maybe just a little breeze, but something...
I guess its a combination of things: studying, practice, honesty, observation. And we just have to pray for the rest.
What do you think?