Wednesday, March 07, 2007

As a teenager I remember wanting to make my mark on the
world. Somewhere in my diary I have written the following
excerpt, but this is paraphrased because I really don't want
to take hours to find the exact wording.

"I know I'm supposed to do something big. I must be either
a dancer, writer, artist, musician, or singer. I have so
much inside of me that needs to be expressed to the world."

Now that is funny. I've been noticing posts by several people
where they write a letter to themselves at the age of 17 or
so. I think rather than a letter I should hit my 17 year
old self over the head with a baseball bat and say, "Wake up
honey! You've got it all wrong."

Of course the first problem is that I am not at all graceful,
just ask Philippine Sister who tried to help me in this regard,
therefore nix the dancing. I can't carry a tune, ask Kent on
that one, so nix the singing. I am really rather lazy AND I
am a little tone deaf so nix the music playing. I have really
a hard time drawing much besides stick figures (though my niece
Carolyn Fleetwood is a very accomplished artist) so nix the
artwork. Okay, that brings us to the writing.

The problem is I see a little too clearly my own faults. Once
in a while I can turn out a sentence that is nice. But mainly
they are very run-of-the-mill productions. I can very easily
see that with my 46 year old eyes; the 17 year old was slightly
blinded by immaturity and inexperience.

In fact, I judge writing by whether they do a better job than I
do. The Baroness Orczy did that too. If I correctly remember
the story, she was listening to a story one day that had won
a contest and she thought, "Why I could do better than that."
And so we have The Scarlet Pimpernel, which just happens to
be one of the greatest books ever written.

I take rather the opposite approach though. I am not driven to
write a novel because of some drivel I read. But I do toss it
aside and say, "They can't write any better than I can. They are
not worth my few moments of leisure." This applies to a lot
of books, Christian and secular. It applies to novels and to
serious works. If a person can't turn a sentence to make a
work of art out of it, I refuse to waste my time.

Basically I avoid a lot of book conversations with people
because of this. I don't want to offend by saying, "Well really,
I thought that was a horrid bit of writing." Better to just
not go there.

This was all supposed to be an introduction to a book review,
actually two book reviews. But I do believe I have exhausted
my reader as well as myself. So I will save the reviews for
another day.

Happy reading!



At 8:27 AM, Blogger Tammy said...

You made me smile...maybe next post will be the book review! :)
But honestly, I know what you mean. About that 17 yr old girl with big dreams...and about reading drivel and realizing we could write at least as well, if not much better!

At 1:48 PM, Blogger Billy and Jenn said...

I really like this post. I can see it took a lot of thought and it is really inspiring.

At 4:23 PM, Blogger Steve & Ruth said...

What wonderful writing

At 10:45 AM, Blogger LeftCoastOnlooker said...

you crack me up! I can't wait for the book reviews - are they drivel or masterpieces? I can't wait to find out!
But you have all of those loves in you, to glorify God with - even if you sing off-key or don't play, you can share, you can sing, you can appreciate so much!
I'll have to find it again, but I just read one author's comment that she is in a very bad relationship -- with herself! She went on to describe the way she critiques her own writing & tears apart her sentences, etc. But, I adore the way you write! Looking forward to those reviews.

At 11:37 AM, Blogger Fabulous at being Katy Jane said...

I am really excited about your book reviews. I have had to do this myself. I am in Adolescent Development and we have to read 22 novels, so I am constantly critiquing books. I just recently read a Newbery book that I didn't really enjoy (The Twenty-One Balloons)

At 12:12 AM, Blogger e-Mom said...

Great piece of writing! Publish this!

I'm sure you realize that no artist, whether they are a writer, painter, or dancer, is at the top of their (volleyball) game 100% of the time. We all write drivel, and sometimes our drivel is pure genius. The key is to keep on writing and to edit, edit, edit.

Nuff said. I like your writing. I think anyone who kept a diary as a teen is a writer (I did, lots of other bloggers did). Will we be published? Yes... blogging is self-publishing! Will we be paid? Not necessarily. But you DO have readers...



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