[ I know this isn’t a piece of writing, but I wanted to post part of a discussion about writing my girlfriend and I had over email. I think it’s interesting to see how two different writers view the same work, or the craft of writing in general. Also, if I haven’t mentioned it (I have), my girlfriend is super talented and you should read her stuff. ]
Her: We write differently, don’t we. It seems that you stew for a while before writing anything. And I just grab the nearest writing utensil and scribble. There’s so much mastery in your writing. It’s like… It’s like honey dipped in strawberries.
Me: I like how desperate and passionate your words are, though. Sometimes lingering over a piece and picking it apart only harms it, not improves it.
Her: Is that how you feel about your writing? That you pick it apart? What do you think of your writing?
Me: Well, sometimes, but not always. It depends; some pieces come flowing out all in one sitting, while others lay fallow and unfinished for weeks, months, or years. I suppose you could compare my writing to… I don’t know, a sculpture or a carving or something, where at first glance you see just a finished product, but on closer inspection you see that every single little stroke or cut was a specific choice, that nothing was done without forethought and an eye for the whole. Which can be good, or bad, or useless – I know no one will notice if I use the word “but” twice in one monologue, but I will, and do, so I’ll change a sentence and use “yet” instead, or something else. The flow has to be just right.
Her: I’m sure you know that Tanim and Daren have different cadences. But I doubt you read your things aloud very often. Tanim’s speech has a staccato feel to it. Sharp. Strong consonants. Intentional rhythm, like a tap-tap-tap. And Daren’s speech, if I were to stick with the music analogy, is very legato. Long. Flowing. So where Tanim’s words stab at you, Daren’s slither in before you realize they’re there. When I read Tanim aloud, I think of a sleek dagger sliding between my ribs. And when I read Daren aloud, I think of a needle that’s already in my skin.
Her (later in the conversation): That’s exactly how it feels. With Tanim, I can sense something happening. I know he’s coming in. But Daren is just… there, suddenly, in the doorway, standing and staring.
Me: I had never thought of it that way, but you’re absolutely right. That’s not even ever how I mean to write any of it, but it comes out that way anyway. You know, I think you’re the only person who truly understands how little control I have over any of this.
Her: On the one hand, I see your part in it. It’s like if They were a painting, I’d recognize your style, your brush strokes, your color choices. But the painting itself is entirely Theirs.