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