home           about           reviews           author insight           review policy

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Experience. Write. Repeat.

“Breathe in experience, breathe out poetry.” ~ Muriel Rukeyser

There is no statement I feel is truer about a writer’s job. It sums up not only the process but the passion. It speaks to not only what we do, but how we do it.

It’s the nuances of an experience that are lost on most people. In the moment, they experience everything, but when it’s over the bigger picture is all that sticks with them.
A writer experiences the world differently.

We see colors and textures and record mental movie clips to be played back later on the walls of our minds. We think in simile and muse in metaphor. With every sound we see the onomatopoeia. (Holy Onomatopeia, Batman!)

If you’ll forgive the expression, we see the world through rose colored glasses.

By that I don’t mean that everything appears wonderful to a writer. It doesn’t. There is sadness and cruelty in the world, and there isn’t a light at the end of every tunnel. But writers know this and we find perfection even in these imperfect moments. We appreciate them for what they are, and not what they might have been.

That ability to hone in on a moment in time, capture it and distill it down into a few sentences or sometimes just a few words is a writer’s gift. It is the power to turn the mundane into the magnificent. It may be as simple as turning a phrase, describing something in a way that is entirely unexpected. It could be seeing an ordinary object and, with thoughts run-a-muck, turning it into something extraordinary. Either way, without it we’d be nothing.

Lewis Carroll made an unremarkable rabbit hole the portal to fantastical world. J.K. Rowling recognized sports as an important part of culture and gave us the high-flying action-packed game of Quidditch. They and countless other authors have taken note of things often overlooked and, with a healthy dose of creativity, made us think again. They show us possibilities, possibilities that amaze us.

They spin hay into gold, and that’s what every writer hopes to do.

Current Music: Dar Williams - Mercy of the Fallen


  1. That's a great note about looking at something that seems commonplace and turning it into so much more. I love it too. I'm going to have to do some imagining with regards to my own story now.