Friday, April 13, 2007

I want to write well, and to write for love. Most people who read my writing tell me I write well. Some true friends are honest, pointing out where I could improve. Half the time, I'm pleased with my writing. Other times, such as when I have finished an essay for a class, I want renounce my profession. I get bogged down in profundity. Things are never as simple as they appear on the surface. The longer I examine an object, a situation, a philosophy, or worse, at two or three I am trying to compare, the more abstract my writing style grows. One of the reasons I admire C.S. Lewis is for his ability to express the profound in simplest terms.

Too, it is frustrating that my papers never follow an outline. They evolve. It is mystery to me how anyone can outline his thoughts before writing the essay. I begin my essays with my mind in a fog. By intense concentration, I am eventually able to distinguish form and content in the haze. I write for revelation; it's thrilling when the revelation comes, and worse than torture when it fails.

Sometimes it seems like everything worth saying has already been said. Why do we persist in retelling the stories that have already been told? What induces writers to endure the agony of giving birth to stories? Why do women become mothers? If we ceased to engage in thought, we could save ourselves the pangs of bringing life to stories. But stories, like people, grow old and die; if stories are not to grow extinct, we must continue to conceive them, nourishing them in the mental womb, to finally give them birth.

Now, that is a metaphor I'd never have conceived in the sterile format of an outline! I like writing when it isn't all rules, getting all four clauses (past participle, present participle, appositive, and absolute phrase), giving three examples to support the thesis. I don't know if I'm just not comfortable with more formal forms, or if they really are inferior to creative writing. I'm going to uncover the truth; somehow, in the next four years of writing essays, I will find a way to write for love.

1 comment:

llane said...

rebecca! so glad to see you are alive! i'm with you re: writing... i just never could follow the formulas that my professors wanted. but if you can achieve the same end result, or make it even better, than i really don't think that the formulas matter. i like to think that i am much too creative a person to be given guidelines for writing. and outlines? nevah!