|Gabby Douglas Women's Gymnastics Olympic Gold Medalist|
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Writing that soars
This summer, we were entranced by the U.S. women’s gymnastics team as they competed at the Olympics. Yes. When aren’t we entranced? Watching Gabby Douglas soar through the air was rapturous. She made impossible moves look so easy, for a fraction of a second I imagined I might be able to do that, too.
Of course, that’s ridiculous and not only because of my age … we know it takes years and years of practice and pain for a gymnast to make something so difficult and precise look so grace-filled and effortless.
I’m not saying writing is exactly the same, but it’s similar. A good piece of writing, a good story makes you forget the work it took to write it. It carries you away. For example, Cormac McCarthy’s work does that to me – some of his dialogues are so finely crafted they take my breath away. You don’t think about the author sitting hour after hour, drafting, deleting, staring out the window, percolating words and phrases as she chews eraser heads.
I strive for this sense of ease and flow in writing, but it is not automatic. If my work merely approaches this standard, barely touches it, like I’ve maybe placed in a local gymnastics meet, then I am pleased. The endorsements from folks who’ve read The Exact Place humble me. I rejoice in them, and yet I’m afraid. I wonder if it’s okay to fall off the balance beam once in awhile.
(This was first posted to Kalos Press Blog.)