The Reality of Writing

March 24, 2011
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Writing is an odd concept. How many ways can we say the same thing? And how can we say it best?

A sunset is no longer a sunset-- it is a rainbow of melted skittles, a harmony of colors, a melody that flows from God’s fingertips. But in the end, no matter the description, a sunset is a time of evening and the soaring awe in our chests at the break of twilight. See, there’s a description again! And I would bet a million dollars that my writing teacher would prefer the second definition to the first. If a writer simply calls a sunset a time of evening, they are dull. But, it is the truth isn’t it?

Perhaps that is what writing is for-- to take the somewhat dull realities of our lives and capture the entangled emotions. We look at an ocean and we feel a bewildering cross between powerless and hopeful. We look at the stars that dot the midnight sky and all of the sudden we are sure that there is something more than our measly existence. That rising of bliss and contentment in your throat, the absence of words in your mind, the hollow pit in your stomach—they are not the result of a “large body of water” or “the unlimited expanse where everything is located.” Tears fill our eyes at “luminous balls of plasma” because space is the threshold to the unknown-- a coal masterpiece dotted with a million, shining angels. The ocean is a turquoise quilt of mystery. And the pencil is the human’s ultimate tool of explanation.

Beyond any God, leader, or textbook, it is the flow of ink from a writer’s hand that finally makes us feel as if we understand and, more importantly, are understood.

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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

Aunt Susie said...
Apr. 5, 2011 at 9:12 pm
Margaret, I am an avid reader of novels because I love to lose myself in beautiful prose.  For me there is nothing better.  Your writing is creative, thoughtful and very beautiful.  Keep it up.
Uncle Rob said...
Apr. 4, 2011 at 7:59 pm
Having tried to write as eloquently as you, I greatly appreciate your understanding that the written word is an art form; a picture of your internal or external perception painted with an intentional use of the English language that conveys both logic and emotion in a single phrase.
AdamS said...
Apr. 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm
Love this piece. Thanks Margaret!
EllenTumavicus said...
Apr. 3, 2011 at 9:04 pm
Margaret- this is a wonderful piece-- even while you are questioning why we write, you let the reader see your love for and skill with descriptions that defy simple and dry description, illustrating what writing really can be. Inspiring!
JessSayre said...
Apr. 3, 2011 at 8:10 pm
Well done Margaret! 
Anne Weinberg said...
Apr. 3, 2011 at 7:45 pm
Spoken like a true budding writer! Very nice.
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