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!


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!

Billy and Jenn said...

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

Steve & Ruth said...

What wonderful writing

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.

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)

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...