Desires / Skills » PenTwist

Desires / Skills

Do You Want It?  Do You Have It?

August 14, 2009

A memory…

I recall cold mornings in the little white shotgun house where I was raised.  My Grandma would wake me up for school and I would smell fresh coffee and other kitchen glories throughout the house.  Grandpa and “the girls” had already gone to work, leaving me to crawl out from underneath a stack of blankets sometime later.
At 5 years old and already the statistical product of divorced parents, my mother and I lived with her parents and two of her younger sisters.
While scratching the grit from the corners of my eyes, I would crawl into the hard wooden chair at the little round kitchen table, with cold toes and fingers and expectancy.  My favorites were her homemade buttermilk biscuits or pancakes, but the fun part was cutting a chunk of cold syrup from the lip of a metal can.
I could sit and try to pour it out all morning, but the rebellious dark “pure cane” syrup would only hang outside the can’s open mouth like a cold tongue.  I found that if you put the biscuits on the cold syrup, they were also immediately cold.
Necessity became the mother of invention and I still remember the process as if it were yesterday.
After slicing off a nice sized dot of syrup, then came the butter mixing.   I would hack off a slice of butter with a fork, which I kneaded and squashed together until the butter and syrup developed a soft consistency of paste.  Timing was everything and the steaming biscuits – or pancakes would make it all worthwhile.

So, is it quick wit or a clever turn of verse that makes a writer memorable?  Or is it the level of education that causes one to quickly float to the top of literary acuity?  I propose that one major component is the ability to convey vivid memories, thoughts, ideas and imaginings with clarity and an emotional openness, enticing the audience to exercise all available sensory perceptions from the words on your page.  Part of your goal should be to compel your beloved reader to slow down their pace and ruminate over meanings instead of the verbiage.  Compel them to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel with tactile acuity the emotional anchor the writer is trying to convey.
Not an easy task without a deep communion from your own heart.
I propose that the romantics are not dead, just very few are willing to pour out their heart and soul to a microwave mindset audience.  It would be the same as speed-reading the cliff notes of Romeo and Juliet and expecting to gain an understanding of the emotional depth of love that would be worth dying for.
Do I expect  a revival of Gautier or Shakespeare in literary circles?  Not in my lifetime.
My sincere question is, why write literary mud-puddles and expect oceans of understanding?

Do I think that I have I arrived?  Of course not.  I’m still at the baby stages of communication skills.
The real question for aspiring artists, in my opinion, is… am I still teachable?
So the next book you read, listen closely for the heartbeat of the author and be amazed when you find your own matching rhythm.

…The old forms, the old molds broke, and sometimes the sentence which was being melted into shape burst forth and overflowed its boundaries, but in superb splashes, like rays of broken stars.  Never had he risen to such heights, and the greatest of poets would willingly have signed what he wrote that day.
—T. Gautier,
Spirit Love

Originally Posted on August 14, 2009 at 1:57 pm

by David Pyle

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