On writing…

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A butterfly in our garden on 4-8-13

I love writing, because anybody can be a writer. Some of the best, and most entertaining writers didn’t even set out to be writers in the beginning. Case in point: Anthony Miller (who wrote The Tropic of Capricorn, one of my most favorite reads), Anthony Bourdain. Some say the best writers are non-writers because they are not bound by conventions, rules, etc. They have creative voices, they make candid connections…you can hear them in their work.

I can’t say that I have truly found my voice yet in writing. I know that I like incorporating academia into writing. I know that I enjoy non-fiction because I feel like I am actively learning about something I care about. I know that sometimes my mind will be circling looking for the right words to say and then all of a sudden the right combination comes that just “clicks.” I know that the best times to write are from 1-4am. I know that the following rules govern all writing pieces that I pursue:

  • I love big words. Not for the fanfare, but because the ability to weave beautifully-sounding, complex words like “amalgamate” and “braggadocio” with common speech and make it flow well is a real talent. I love learning new words and their uses.
  • I love small words. I once had an editor who said that sometimes, you can use small, simple words in new ways to make them sound bolder. For instance, “big views”. “Big” is such a normal word, but since it’s not normally put with the word “views” it creates a different dimension.
  • I like reading food porn. That sounds wrong, but when you read something like this (below), how can you not be addicted to reading about the sensory experience of food? These are times that should be relived.

“It’s nighttime in Puebla and there are a taco lady and her husband standing behind a part…when the edges of the tongue are browned and the air fills with deliciousness, she scrapes them off the hot metal with a spatula, drops them into soft, still-warm corn tortillas, double layered — and quickly drags a spoon of salsa verde across them. She sprinkles them with fresh cilantro and a little raw, chopping onion and hands them over on a paper plate so thin it barely supports their weight without buckling. You quickly shove one of the tacos into your mouth, wash it down with a big pull from a can of cold Tecate — which you’ve previously rubbed with lime and jammed into a plate of salt, encrusting the top — and you can feel your eyes roll up into your head.” (Medium Raw, Bourdain)

  • I believe that every sentence should matter on a page. Stephen King said it best:“You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair–the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.”  (On Writing, King)
  • I love that writing is in a constant mode of evolution. A piece of writing is a living, breathing piece that can grow, progress, transform.
  • I love that writing immortalizes thoughts. Someone once said that you write things down that you want to remember. Sometimes I look back at journals and am just amazed at the memories that are crystallized on each page.
  • I believe that “you never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” (Saul Bellow)
Photo on 4-11-13 at 12.13 PM

In front of my prized collection of ALL-food related lit!

Anybody else have sturdy beliefs, morals or epiphanies regarding writing? I’d love to hear them.

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