MARROW, MUSCLE, FLIGHT

THOUGHTS  ON  WRITING

As bodily beings it is our nature to be attracted to the sacraments of flesh, the sound of bells and barking dogs, the flavor of basil, salt, whiskey, blood, the smell of baking bread and oozing earth, the ocular picnic of autumn, the touch of fire or sweet, sweet flesh.

So much of good writing is its sensual precision.  If I can simply allow the reader to be here, to crouch on this jutting cliff above Bear Lake and smell the minty musk of sun-warmed pine and falling birch leaves, to watch the wind place its commas on the gray page a hundred feet below, I will achieve my purpose. 

Why not just take a picture?  The photograph is frozen, has borders; it doesn’t do what I want to do.  It stays with the external geography when I want to step from this cliff into the internal landscape of wonder.

I struggle to make the words sing, to invite the mind and heart to wander to similar places, remembered vistas, glimpsed overlooks.  I want the bodies of my words to call to you.  I want this beauty to open a question in you or to unlock some simple moment that has been hidden or lost.  I want you to sigh or to say “yes.” 

If I can just tell you how the light slants here, if I can word paint for you the twenty shades of patina and rust on this rock face lichen, if I can get the sound of the wind right as it lifts out of the green valley, you might see it, hear it.  The scene might open something and where it leads is your business.  I’m just a writer.

 

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