To Shiny No. 8 On Writing
Writers are a kind of people who have an insatiable urge to write. They are those who like to write and want to write, and write disregard anyone pays any heed. They enjoy writing, and find enjoyment in writing itself. Some may even be addicted to writing. I’m not that. I’ve never had much great desire in penning creatively, nor do I have the talents. The only one that I know who has written hundreds of pages of material at a tender age is Maggie. I’ve thought of telling Maggie of E.B. White’s counsel to a group of fourth-graders about writing a book. White wrote to the kids the following:
“First, you have to want to write one very much. Then, you have to know of something that you want to write about. Then, you have to begin. And, once you have started, you have to keep going.”
I think Maggie must have something she wanted to write about very much for her to have written so much material. I once had the idea of sharing with her my thoughts on writing, and thought that if she did have the natural talents in this endeavor, she should be encouraged to fully realize her talents.
Now that I’ve started writing myself, albeit at a senior age, I’ve begun to notice a thing or two about this craft, and have become more conscious of some of its demands and intricacies. I would continue to think of some of the words or forms of expression used, for example, even after the piece is sent. This process has invariably resulted in mistakes being spotted, or better replacements detected. Writing has never come natural to me. It’s laborious and slow, sometimes disgustingly so. All the pieces that were sent to you have since gone through various degrees of rewriting. In the last piece, for example, in describing rainfall, the word “drizzles” was misspelled as “sizzles,” and the whole line has since been reworded to “Shortly after I was there, rain began to fall, first in drizzles, soon after it came down in torrents.” There are over ten places in the “Random thoughts” piece that have since been revised.
In my experience I have found that I'm more compelled to write when I feel terrible than when I feel great. I didn’t, or perhaps I couldn’t, write the story of love between a communist and a capitalist when I was in heaven, enjoying the tenderness and care and affection of the love of my life. Now that I’m torn in purgatory, the creative juices are more ready.
This of course is not what things of any merit could have come about. Any endeavor that is worth anything requires efforts applied consistently and persistently. A small step taken one day at a time, continued in each and every day, day after day…yes, I know this. And this I will do.