Thursday, April 26, 2007

Writing for Its Ownself

For 26 years, I was a professional writer. Writing is a pretty big part of who I am. Then I went into social casework, and for another 13 years, no one but my supervors, judges, attorneys and a few parents read anything I wrote. Most of the writing was objective, in third person, though I did write the occasional op ed piece.

I am enjoying the writing of this immensely. It feels like practicing scales and occasionally, attempting a melody. Writing is a type of music, I think. Strong writers have a cadence, a rhythm to their writing that adds to the enjoyment of the narrative. Just as we can train our ears to recognize Beethoven from Mozart, we recognize the melody of the writers we read the most. I find the ones I re-read the most tend to have the most music in their arrangement of words. Anne Rivers Siddons has a beauty to her narrative that almost transcends the content. But then there's Robert Parker, whose spare, staccato prose also pleases.

I don't think I'm going to find a particular niche or genre for awhile, if ever. The "When I was a girl" pieces are something I've been thinking about for awhile, not only to collect old family stories for my grandchildren, since no one else in my family is left to tell them, but also to try to paint small pictures of life many years ago. It is so different from today. I keep thinking how to explain to my granddaughters what a hot water bottle was--or still probably is, though I haven't seen one for years. The description must not be cumbersome, but evoke a picture of something they have never seen. (I remember my youngest son seeing a Scripts ink bottle with the well in the top in a museum, for God's sake, and asking me what it was and what it was for. When I was in elementary school, I turned that ink bottle upside down every morning, filling the well, then filled my ink pen before going to school. In a museum? He didn't know what it was?)

Some years ago, I read a quote that struck me: by our late 50's, we have all become the curators of our personal museums. It's pretty true. I don't want to get stuck in the past, but at times I choose to remember parts. I want to write about the present and the future, as well. All over the place. (sigh) Mostly, I want to see if I can get some of my music back. I suspect a direction will present itself, or perhaps not.

My blog is Green Chiles and Roses for several reasons: Green Chiles are evocative of New Mexico. My father was a tremendous--and prodigious--rose gardener; we had more than 60 around our home. I was named for a rosebush introduced commercially in 1942. I'm delighted to say it is a rosy pink tea rose. Despite the elegance of roses, I've been pleased roses also can protect themselves--they have thorns. And they smell glorious.

I've been surprised and delighted by the plethora of well-written blog sites I am descovering. I've seen a lot of writing by college graduates--even mult-degreed college graduates--that makes me weep and cringe. But as I begin to surf the Web, I am reassured. There are so msny thoughtful, literate writers out there. Some good thinkers, and great humorists. So many different kinds of lives. People watching is one of my favorite things, and the Web is one more way to do it.

So I pick my way, tentatively putting words down on a page and trying to find some way to make the words sing for me. Once in a while, they do.


Ambulance Driver said...

I, for one, like to hear the melody of your writing. Keep it up!

night lightning woman said...

Thank you. Just now, I needed to hear that.