Each of us has a reason for becoming a writer, author, texter or word-player. Leon Uris once said, “I was too heavy to be a jockey and unfit for honest work, so I became an author.” I wrote for years before becoming aware that I could actually sell what I had been giving away, and this happened only when I could no longer lug boxes of teacher training materials and drama props from one place to another in the back of my station wagon. This was a hinge of life for me, a door swinging open, one that I could open even if the hinge squeaked.
Over the years, many people have given writers advice to either encourage or startle.
Samuel Johnson said,”What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.”
Elizabeth Gray Vining said this about writing: It should be
“Clean as a bone
Clear as a crystal
hard as a stone
two words are not
so good as one.”
If you, like me, used these words as guidelines for writing, consider the words of Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr., a writer after my own heart:
“A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used.”
As a discouraged writer, I received a post card from my poet friend Jean Marvin who had listened to me wail about not selling my MOO COW MONTY AND THE BIG BULLY. The card contained a quotation from Isak Dinesens Last Tales. “When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, without faith and without hope, suddenly the work will finish itself.” Very encouraging and very descriptive, but Jean, wherever you are, twelve years later and no one has bought that exciting, wonderful children’s book. I’m waiting. That’s what writer’s do, or maybe they do what Gene Fowler said, “Writing is easy; all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead.”