Archive for the 'Writing' Category

Misty in Manhattan

Misty Manhattan buildings

This year, Manhattan was unendingly dreary. It seemed blocked in  stone. So much stone. And there was so much rain. We were hemmed in. Too close, too dreary.

The many mornings of rush hour trains didn’t help. That hustle that lead me to become hard like those buildings, elbow my way in through closing doors, gritting my teeth because I’m gonna get my turn! Survival. This instinct to make it that shoves anything else away. Eye contact. Grace.

Then last night, walking late down on Manhattan’s west side, the mist slurping the tops of skyscrapers, I realized it was changing. The temperature was mild, the sidewalks were not slick with rain but damp with dew.

I turned down a residential street and there were curled leaf buds on street trees. Not just splashing their green for show. They were nosing forward like riverboats preparing for voyage. That fresh color seemed impossible a month ago, like we’d exhausted our lifetime quota of spring. I’d wondered if they’d ever come again.

This morning, there it was again, that close mist, that green. My step was lighter and I could breathe. I was walking. Not rushing. Birds rustled in branches above. I looked up. The morning hush said, no matter you don’t know where to begin or how to end, no matter this city of strangers and garbage trucks  still sneaking and prowling–this day is for you, your season is here.

Kill Your Darlings

The great writers all say it—to write is to revise. It’s all in the edit.

The great story, poem, or essay rarely comes out all in one piece. It’s discovered, or uncovered. It doesn’t spring forth like water from the Trevi Fountain, as much as we wish it did. Or suffer because we think it should.

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” — Mark Twain

I like to hear other writers discuss their writing process because it reminds me that I’m not alone. Writing isn’t easy. Perhaps we are a bunch of masochists, but we are dedicated.

“Writing and rewriting are a constant search for what it is one is saying.” — John Updike

Because when the ideas are coming and the words are flowing, there’s nothing better.

“Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it – wholeheartedly – and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.” — Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, On the Art of Writing, 1916

It is hard work. And I’m not even sure it’s noble work, given all the angst. But… we can’t seem to help ourselves. Read more on today’s Flavorpill.