anyway, its about old friends

lately i have been thinking about the details of words, the fine-points of constructing a story. it started with me reading vivian gornicks discerning the situation and the story, a non-fiction book about non-fiction writing. initially, gornick professes that a good personal piece must be organized according to an insight the writer wants her text to deliver – and in order to arrive at this insight, she must utilize the proper speaking voice (the proper persona). she also needs the right situation (context) and a matching story; which gornick describes as: the emotional experience that preoccupies the writer; the insight, the wisdom, the thing ones has come to say. 

it was with a heavy mind i started on this book. feeling lost and without anything of my own to say. i was without words about the future of this newsletter, having no ideas on where to steer it. i wanted a persona that explored, that illuminated the self – but i couldn’t understand what it was that i wanted to illuminate. 

after i had finished gornick, still unsure, but more aware of the workings of the craft; i moved onto mary oliver. her poetry handbook had been collecting dust ever since i bought it during that spring i read all of her poems like they were oxygen (which for me, without the metaphor, they were). in it she explains in her tender and attentive way of what makes the language of poetry sparkle – what makes a line of verse come alive. she gets down into the nitty gritty of linguistics: alliteration, assonance, consonance – how the word stone does not feel the same as rock and that what separates the everyday language from that of poetry is intent and intensity. 

when we pay attention to the details of our word choices, we are instructing the reader on how to read. ink is not temporary, as they say. and we want our words to guide us home, like stars in the night.

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