Monday, May 15, 2006

'Riting

Make sure to read my other posts on The Three R's:
The Three R's
Reading
Reading Comprehension Test
C.S. Lewis on "Literary" and "Unliterary" Reading

I really admire authors who weave words in a delightfully charming way. It is one thing to write something, and quite another to really express thoughts and feelings in a moving way through words. L.M. Montgomery is quite possibly the author I most admire in that respect. Every time I pick up one of her books, I am awed by the skill with which she weaves together words. Many of her passages send shivers down my spine from the beauty and truth she reveals in her writing. I can never hope to come close to the skill with which L.M. Montgomery wrote her books, but that doesn't mean I can't still enjoy writing! Most of my pursuits I manage to enjoy even with the firm realization that I will never be deemed really accomplished in them.

Mother Dear made sure that I had a good number of writing assignments growing up, and that I was properly schooled in grammar and composition (read "drilled"). I was taught early on that the word "it's" is only to be used as the contraction for "it is," not as a possessive pronoun. I also was warned against ever making the dreaded error of referring to a group of family members incorrectly in the singular possessive: The Smith's are coming over for dinner. *shudder* Granted, even Mother Dear's rigorous training did not guarantee my perfection in the area of grammar and composition, as evidence by my frequent typos in blog posts and comments. They keep me humble :).

I was assigned a variety of writing assignments during my el-high life, including short compositions, stories, research papers, poetry, book reviews and reports (there is a difference!), et cetera. Mother Dear was even so cruel as to once assign a short story writing assignment with a non-mystery stipulation! *shocked look* As I was then in a heavily-mystery stage in my reading activities, that was an extremely difficult assignment for me to complete! In my mind, mysteries carried the story: they opened it, they forwarded the action, and they ended the story. Without a mystery, how does a story end? - or so I wondered. It was a good writing exercise, though, and I've since been able to write a few more non-mystery works of fiction.

I'm a type A personality, so there is something very satisfying to me about sitting down and organizing my thoughts into words on paper in a satisfactory and aesthetic manner. I also like to debate, and I find writing (especially blogging) to be an excellent outlet for that. I've never hated writing (though I definitely detested some assignments I was given), but I don't think I realized just how much I liked writing until my Freshman English class in college. We wrote a lot for that class, and most of the assignments were controversial subjects *grins*. By the end of that semester I was hooked on writing. My assigned "8-10 page position paper" ended up exceeding 22 pages, and I've been long-winded (er, typed) ever since. From then on I've genuinely enjoyed sitting down to compose something.

Non-documented (i.e., no parenthetical citations and bibliographies), non-fiction writing has always come easiest to me, though it's also hard for me to keep such writing to a decent length. *grins knowingly* I started blogging partly just to have a place to record my mental musings. I find it enormously helpful to organize my thoughts onto paper (or monitor), and I find that I learn so much in the process. Writing (or typing) out my thoughts is an integral part of how I learn. This may sound weird, but sometimes when I'm asked an involved question, I feel like telling the questioner, I'm not sure how to answer that. Let me write about it and get back to you.

I've dabbled a tad bit in poetry, though not much. Mother Dear gave me occasional poetry assignments growing up - primarily diamantes, haikus, and limericks - so I have a little background in that regard. I wrote a number of very amusing short rhymes in my second grade journal, some of which I will share in a follow-up post. I've also written a few sonnets and similarly structured poetry. Poetry is definitely not my writing forte, though!

Growing up, Hannah and I started many short-lived "story clubs" with our friends, reminiscent of Anne Shirley et al :). I mainly wrote mysteries - most of them never finished - since I was so fixated on that particular genre. I always had grand plans for each story, but rarely followed through with an ending to the story :(. My habits in this regard are little better today, at least with regard to fictional writing. About three years ago I was motivated to begin an historical fiction story. I'm excited about the plot, and I've sketched the entire story, complete with beginning, middle, ending, and even some plot twists. I've just not made much progress *sigh*. In three years I've only completed the prologue and four chapters, along with significant progress on four other chapters. The words just don't come, it seems! I really would love to finish the story at some point, because the story interests me greatly, but I may well be eighty before it's done! *frustration*

Does anyone else have this problem? What types of writing do you most enjoy, and which come the easiest to you?

4 comments:

Mrs Blythe said...

I always had dreams of writing fiction, but I never knew where I was going. So, I have had lots of failed attempts. I was a little like my father, who had great desires to write a book about the Romans. However, he was much more into leaning back on his chair, pipe in mouth, looking thoughtful, than he was into actually putting some interesting facts to paper.

I am similar to you in one sense, that I like to get my thoughts down on paper. If I don't they roam about my head looking for an outlet - which is usually some poor unsuspecting person who makes the mistake of saying, "How are you?", WELL, funny you should ask - rah,rah,rah...(there's those ellipses).

I have not been blogging long, but a couple of times I have felt the need to put my 'thoughts of Pooh' type ramblings (as I like to call them) into writing. In my recent thoughts on child discipline, on my blog, I felt it necessary to put a disclaimer at the beginning along the lines of 'don't listen to me I'm just thinking' ('cept slightly more eloquently put).

I have never understood poetry, it has never spoken to my soul. I have tried to love it, like my hero Miss Shirley, but to no avail. It bounces off my brain and back out of my ears. Shame.

Ah well, onward and upward! Blessings :o)

Susan said...

I am similar to you in one sense, that I like to get my thoughts down on paper. If I don't they roam about my head looking for an outlet - - which is usually some poor unsuspecting person. . .

That is a riot, Mrs. Blythe! That is me to a "t"! I figure with a blog, people have the option of tuning me out ;). I really am trying to work on talking less, but it's hard! I have so many things to say :). As I need to learn, though, silence is not a bad thing, and sometimes much chatter is not wise. A verse I need to memorize:

Proverbs 17:28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Jessica said...

This is one of those better-late-than-never comments...I don't know why I didn't comment on this post before because it's a subject I'm starting to greatly enjoy!

I really admire authors who weave words in a delightfully charming way. It is one thing to write something, and quite another to really express thoughts and feelings in a moving way through words. L.M. Montgomery is quite possibly the author I most admire in that respect. Every time I pick up one of her books, I am awed by the skill with which she weaves together words. Many of her passages send shivers down my spine from the beauty and truth she reveals in her writing.

I completely agree! Though I don't exaxtly get shivers...L.M. Montgomery's writing amazes me! Such poetic prose...if there is such a thing...

And I can completely relate to starting to write something and never finishing it! Though I haven't yet attempted a book, I've started many a story...gotten a little ways...but never concluding it. Rather annoying because I don't like things left hanging!

Susan said...

Jessica, I don't like leaving things hanging either! That is one thing I hate, yet I manage to do that a lot. For example if I would read one book at a time, rather than three, I wouldn't have so many loose threads hanging for so long. Or if I'd just work on one sewing project at a time. . . Ah well.