November 29, 2007 6:51 AM- just don't use a box of chocolates as a metaphor

It?s still dark outside. I?ve had to hush the doggies as we are in my office on the other side of our bedroom where T still sleeps.

The semester is winding down. Next week marks the end of my art classes and the following week is the end of my writing classes. It definitely has been one of those times where days are so full it takes a conscious effort to stop, and feel, and be in the moment. But I am here, baby. I am here.

I was asked by Richard in the comments a couple posts back to share my take on what makes good writing. Funny, if I stop to think about good writing when I am blogging I freeze. For me, blogging is a stream of consciousness-- more of what I would call a free write where you just sit and ramble.

And that?s what I like about blogging. It?s more like journaling where you just follow your thoughts and don?t have a point, particularly.

However, back to my opinions on writing.

Hmmm, I know that like any art form: different strokes for different folks. Some love thick, intricate sentences that weave on and on like a winding creek (I'm looking at you, Proust). Others prefer short, precise sentence structure that captures each thought or image in a perfect, clear bubble. I admit to being someone who harkens to the latter.

I don?t have a favorite author (I don?t have a favorite anything, for that matter?I'm just not a linear person when it comes to that), but the first person who jumps into my mind when I think of the kind of writing I am drawn to is Albert Camus. And then, when I stop to think about that, I wonder, is it the writing or the mind behind the writing and I realize, it is the combination.

For me, great writing cannot stand separated from great thought.

You could show me passages of beautifully crafted prose and I would absolutely agree that it was beautifully crafted prose, but as it was empty of original thought or an innovative slant on an old idea, it wouldn?t even register with me. Whereas, you might share with me a less elegant essay, something that is without polish and has numerous rough edges and I could easily be entranced with it if the meaning of it rings true, or it makes me laugh (always a plus) or I am prompted to read it over and over again, more delighted with the word structure on each review.

Interesting (perhaps only for me, obvs) as I write that, I see that I have the exact same response to visual art?probably why I am particularly partial to ?outsider art? or folk art or whatever people want to call creative work that lies outside the mainstream.

So, gah. Sorry, Richard. I knew when you made this request I wasn?t going to come up with anything useful. Sure, I could say what I am always hammering on my composition students about, ?be specific, avoid vague language (yes, I?m redundant)? blah blah blah, but I don?t think there is a magic formula for any art.

With writing, which happens to be the form closest to my heart, I find it?s an alchemy of story, voice and spirit-- all of which transcends the fetters of syntax, grammar, etc. when it achieves greatness.

And that, to quote Forrest Gump, ?is all I have to say about that.?

got 2 cents?

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daphne says:
Alas, it is easier to recognize poor writing than it is to find good writing. I agree, the syntax and grammar are far less important than a good idea. When it's written well AND it's a beautiful idea, well, that's just brilliance.
posted on: November 29

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lizardek says:
leaps from the page straight into your smile
posted on: November 29

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wee says:
me? Yesterday's poem suited me to a T! Now that was some crazy good writing. yup. The kind with the definite ring of truth. seriously... it made me weep. In the best heart swelling, crescendo trilling, emotion filling way.
posted on: November 29

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Pippa says:
I am still ~ delightedly ~ reading through the treasures of your blog after discovering you through Richard's tag. I find your writing beautiful and touching! Thank you so much, Blue Poppy, for the encouraging hug you left over at my side. It means more to me than I can say. Love, Pippa
posted on: November 30

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kateri says:
Yep... Camus is wonderful. I think for me, good writing is what captures my hard to win attention. How many books have I started that just leave me yawning half way through? I think I would rather read a great story with okay prose, than a crappy story with beautiful prose. BUt if the prose is REALLY bad, I just cannot read it. But then, my favourite book is Charlotte's Web. (Which I think is a beautifully written tale) :-)
posted on: November 30

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Princess Haiku says:
Hi, I found you through tangled in l'heure blue, through Richard and was intrigued by the name of your blog, "blue Poppy." You write with an unusual clarity. I haven't read enough of your writing to have a reality based opinion (but what opinion requires that) but suspect you write good prose. I am going to link you and do more reading. I have some photos of poppies in the rain, that I took last winter. I love their ephemeral beauty.
posted on: December 01

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