Friday, June 16, 2006


The power is out. Just like that, all the usual sounds are cut short. No ringing phone, no canned laughter coming from the TV, no hum of the computer. None of the normal sounds of life. And worst, no one to talk to. Just me, sitting, listening to the quiet.

What I can hear: the birds singing outside, their notes light and faraway. The voices of people walking by on the street, fragments of conversation coming in through cracks in the window. The sound of my pen scratching against the paper, awkward in the pauses. My own breath, moving in and out in steady rhythm. The chair creaking beneath me as I shift my weight, the dog rising from her nap and shaking off sleep. My own laughter, watching her track a fly across the room and later, that same fly buzzing past my ear. A high-pitched tinny ringing in my ears. The deafening rush of noise.

I've looked everywhere for the tools that will help me be a better writer. I've searched the library for books that will tell me the secret. I've read all the articles, the journals. I've been across cyberspace and back, hoping to stumble across it somewhere.

In the quiet, now, it comes to me. Everything I need is right here in this room. This pen, this paper, this mind, this will. These things are enough.


Blogger TAP said...

"I've searched the library for books that will tell me the secret."

When I started, I did the same thing. Then I realized that the answer I was looking for -- and I hate to use a cliche, but sometimes a cliche puts it best -- was right within myself.

I stopped picking up how-to books and read what appealed to me in the genre. I read what didn't appeal to me. I started picking apart both to find out WHY I either loved or didn't love a certain text.

I keep adding to each "list", and I always keep it in mind when I'm writing.

And I imitate. I steal forms and metaphors and I get to know them inside out -- then I improve them (at least I'd like to think I do).

I think that's the real secret to writing -- imitate what you love because, eventually, you will work your way into something that is wholly your own.

6/17/2006 4:23 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

Yes, this is exactly what I meant. Thank you for saying it so well.

6/17/2006 4:42 PM  

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