Thursday, May 01, 2008

Sometime ago I posted about judging a book by how hungry it
makes me get while reading it. There is one other very
important criteria I have for reading a book. The author
has to be able to write better than I do. If they can't
then they are not worth my time.

Before you judge me as a silly goose, listen to my reasoning.

Years ago, many, many years ago, I was sixteen. It is hard to
be sixteen and not be full of yourself. I remember writing
in my diary one day (thankfully that diary is hidden in a
deep, dark place, hopefully never to see the light of day again)
but, I remember writing something horribly gushy in the following
vein--Not an exact quotation by any means, but close in the main

"Dear Diary,

I know I am destined for some great thing. I have considered the
ways and have come to the conclusion that my destiny is to do
something that will contribute to mankind and beautify this world.
Maybe it will be singing, or dancing, maybe art, but I think it
most likely to be with words. Words make me feel alive." blah,
blah, blah, ad nauseam.

Oh, how I love being closer to fifty than forty. I wouldn't take
sixteen back again for all the tea in China. (Never use such cliches
they PROVE you are not a good writer.)

Well, it is obvious to all that know me that singing could not
be the great thing I do. I am the only one in my immediate family,
meaning by immediate my husband and four children, who cannot
sing. The poor ole' girl can't carry a tune in a bucket (there
I go again). However my dear niece in The Big City is going to
be singing The National Anthem for the River City Rascals in June.
Go Annie!

Dancing is also out of the question. Although I took dance lessons
for nine years sister Becky falls into the cockroach laughing position
when she remembers trying to teach me some basic dance moves
when I was a teenager. My lack of rhythm has continued to plague
Kent to this day. He has this dance step he loves and has had to
resort to dancing with Hattie-girl. Dancing does run in the family
though, as proven by niece Kinsey who will be dancing Sleeping Beauty with the St. Louis Ballet Company the same weekend Annie
is singing for the Rascals.

Art-now there is a field with great possibilities. There are several
professional artists in my family. Uncle David is a professional
artist in California, and niece Carolyn Fleetwood-Blake is one in
Florida (she even has a website devoted just to her artwork for sale).
My home is decorated with artwork by the two of them. Even son Billy
and daughter Hattie are rather artistic. But once again, the talent
fairy passed me by at birth.

You can easily see why I quickly narrowed my options to making a
splash in the world down to writing. Everyone can write. At least
they think they can. But what I've come to discover over the years is that, sure, anyone can write, but only a few
deserve the title of "Author worthy to be read".

I can easily be grammatically correct. I can even, once in a great
while, write a lovely sounding sentence. But to put together a whole
string of interesting sentences, page after page, and to connect those
sentences to a plot or idea worth continuing writing about, that is a
gift that relatively few people through the ages have been given.

In the long run, my writing is stilted and boring...even to myself.
If I cannot hope to amuse my own ego, how can I hope to amuse
others for any extended length of time?

Besides, there is something bewitching in the idea of having to make
a great impression on the world. God has given me my little spot and
it is His grace to me to be surrounded by my own little set of
circumstances. What I can be good at is doing the next job that is
set before me (kudos to Elizabeth Elliot). I can cook the next meal,
make the next bed, wash the next load of towels, attend the next
ballgame, teach the next VBS class, care for the next sick person,
share Christ with the next person I meet and enjoy the life I have
been blessed with.

Maybe I lack drive or intensity, but at least I am a happy and
contented little soul as I plod along through my allotment of days.


Jenn said...

Oh, but I love your writings!

Amiable Impressions......... said...

I'm with Jenn - sometimes works are made great because the people who write them are great. Nothing is never so interesting as reading something written by a friend. Books may be lost, loaned out, destroyed but "letters" last forever. They are stored, hoarded, and kept in a special spot. I've always lamented leaving one of my father's letters out in the rain. It was the only one I had. I have it memorized though! Anyway....didn't mean to BLOG in your spot...LOL.