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On Writing

 

A breeze rolls across the dunes like a sigh of contentment from the lips of a lover. The soft white sand glows pink with the blush of the rising sun. The gulls and plovers dance and chase the receding waves as the sunlight bursts forth heralding in a new day.

 

This is why we write, to paint a picture with our words. Writing should be expressive and allow the reader to connect on several levels. A well written piece should awake something in the reader. Whether it is an urge to take action or an emotional reaction, it should cause the reader to respond. Readers don't want to read dry short pieces. They want the meat and potatoes not the broth. Who wants to read: They kissed softly.  No one, what we want to read is: Legs and arms tangled in the sheets, the air pungent with wine and anticipation, their lips met in a soft kiss while the fire light danced gaily across their skin. See, that paints a picture and allows the reader to visualize and connect with the words.

 

Illegal aliens should have no guaranteed rights. They are here illegally and are a burden to society. After all, they are illegal.

 

Writing should be provocative, not necessarily explicit or pornographic but emotionally provocative. Effective writing should reach into a reader and stir an emotional response. It should touch something in the reader and illicit a response. By generating a response you are establishing a connection with the reader. Established connections lead to enhanced dialogue. Enhancing dialogue and getting people communicating is essential to the health and growth of communities. Writing has been used for centuries to shape and illicit change. Thomas Paine wrote Common Sense in February 1776 and changed the course of United States history. Paine wrote this history changing pamphlet in a manner that was easy to read by all classes of society. Paine touched on every political and social nerve of that era in the pamphlet. In his essay, The Crisis, Paine wrote “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Those eight words paint a stark and yet dreary picture of the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Speak them aloud and they are just as powerful and meaningful as they were in 1776. The whole essay is just as powerful. In fact it was so provocative and moving that General Washington ordered the essay be read to all of his troops. 

 

 

Dear Mom,

            I spent the morning painting and was reminded of that afternoon we went to Aunt Marianne’s. You had tricked me into helping you paint the statue of Jesus in Aunt Marianne’s backyard. I’ve always wondered, why didn’t you just ask me to come help?

 

Writing should be personal and sacred. Writing for yourself, like journaling, can be therapeutic and relaxing. Not everything that you write has to be shared. It is okay to put your thoughts to paper and lock them away. These are your words and they belong where you want them to belong. The process behind writing should also be personal and sacred. Develop a routine and stick to it because if you don’t, in the end, you are only cheating yourself. Writing for someone else is special, taking the time to write down and share a memory or thought with someone is an incredible gift. The art of letter writing is fading away in favor of text messages and instant messaging. There is nothing more personal or more powerful than a written letter.  

 

Have you ever been on the highway pushing the speed limit a little and thought “If I twitched the steering wheel right now I’d hit the guardrail hard enough I wouldn’t even feel it. All the pain and B.S. would be over.”

 

Writing should be scary, exhilarating, and emotional. Emotion is a powerful friend of the writer and can be used to evoke thoughts, memories, and action. Writing can be scary, especially when dealing with your own raw emotions. Transferring the emotions into words and putting them down on paper does not lessen them. It reminds you that there is power in words. Those words and emotions belong to you and as the writer you can decide where they take you. Words are powerful and that is something every writer needs to remember.

 

"On a cloud of sound I drift in the night

Any place it goes is right

Goes far, flies near

To the stars away from here" ~Steppenwolf

 

Writing should be a vehicle for the reader, allowing them an escape or venue to chase down thoughts, dreams and memories. A well written piece will become a refuge for a reader. This allows the reader to get lost in the words, immersing themselves in a world not like their own. Or, perhaps it invokes an air of nostalgia allowing the reader to escape to the past. Transport your readers, take them where you want and leave them breathless. Writing can also be a vehicle for information. More importantly writing should be a vehicle for truth. Writers have a responsibility to write the truth. Even when writing, a writer should be writing the truth as it is perceived. Writing should be believable, even if the truth behind what is being written is faulty.

 

"I stood in shock unable to move or speak as I stared down at him. Nothing I had to say seemed adequate. So I did what I felt was right, I told him I loved him and confessed to breaking his tractor and promised to fix it."

 

Writing should provide space for the both the writer and the reader to share an experience together. A well written piece should make a reader think, laugh, cry, scream, flush with excitement, and feel. If a reader does not experience an emotional response, the writer has failed. Writing should make the reader experience.