Monday, December 18, 2006

The Sentence in the Soil

Editing your own writing is hard. When I am writing I often become attached to sentences, even if there are too many commas or too few periods.

And I have learned that good writing comes from wanting to say something, not just from wanting to write anything.

But I find that one often knows when things are not quite right yet in writing, that more adjustments have to be made, even if it is a difficult truth to face.

It is easy to think that the soil of words is tilled perfectly and you are ready to plant your seed which will grow roots in this very spot. But sometimes you have to go and get a sturdy shovel and be honest with yourself and plunge it into the ground and turn the soil over a few more times until you see the nutrient rich sentences rise to the top.

And sometimes it will turn up. The sentence to end all sentences. The one that can only exist after several failed attempts have gone, the one that splits your heart into two with its razorlike clarity and then melts the two halves with the warm hearth of humility.

The kind of sentence that when someone else reads it they will think to themselves, “Wow, that is really great I wish I had written that.” And you will know that they could not have and not only because they didnt, but because you did.

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