Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Don't Tell, but Show

"When You are present at the birth of a child you may find yourself weeping and singing.[...] The reader will understand without your ever having to discuss the nature of life."
Although I agree with the idea that Natalie Goldberg writes about here, that we should show our feelings through the scenes that cause these emotions, I'm not sure she has the idea entirely right. While imagery does more for the mind than simple description, I feel that someone must experience something in order to understand it. For instance, I don't think someone can understand the emotions of watching a child birthing without having ever having witnessed the event. We can fake the emotions, and pretend like we understand them, but really all we do is create a mask of reality only to be removed by experiencing the event which we misconcieved.

"We can't always stay with first thoughts, but it is good to know about them."
I think this really applies to my writing style, especially creative writing. When I'm trying to write a poem or something other than a critical essay, I tend to come up with my best ideas when I'm away from the project, and when I come back to it, it seems I can never quite capture that first "glimpse of genius." However, first thoughts do tend to come better to me as I get into the flow of writing, and so sometimes it seems my writing gets better later on in the work than in the very beginning.


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