Blog,  Identity,  Writing

A Porch, an Oriole, and a Comment… Yes, I AM a Writer

For a moment I thought it was a robin, as it flew in out of the rain and tittered at me from the lilac bush before moving over to the mock orange, and then on to who knows where. But the color was… wrong… Thanks for the visit, little oriole. Now that I know you’re here, I’ll put out something you like so you might visit me again as I write on my side porch. I prefer the sunny mornings, but at least it’s warm enough to be outdoors.

It was a status update. Friends commented with what their orioles… “their” orioles, the ones who enjoy meals in their yards, like to eat. Apples and pears were a surprise. Grandma always put out oranges. Orange fruit for the orange bird. I’d heard about grape jelly. And saw oriole feeders while looking for a hummingbird feeder last year.

One friend just commented that it was a nice visit. And it was a nice visit, so it wasn’t just a comment. Plus, she was first to comment.

Then there was that comment. One of those comments, especially as I was sitting working on a story, weighing how to better show not tell my early-onset-Alzheimer’s character with the soup he can’t remember how to get from the can to the pan…

I love your writing, it’s as though I am experiencing what u see..that’s a GIFT!!

That was a great compliment. That is how I want to write.

The last novel I finished, I was constantly distracted by the writer’s voice. His self-consciousness of his turns of phrase. It wasn’t that all of his efforts at color were bad, but even the ones that didn’t make me roll my eyes rarely fit the character. And if your point of view is first person, your whole story should sound like the character telling the story. When the narrator quoted himself, so to speak, he spoke like a stereotypical disadvantaged white kid mostly grown, making good but not quite fitting in by escaping his mentally unstable mother to get to university in another town, working to pay the bills. Not a stellar student, though smart enough, but ignorant and unpolished and too busy with managing to just get by to be very creative or concerned with grammar and enunciation. It wasn’t even as if he was looking back as the journalist he briefly mentioned considering becoming as he dug into an elderly man’s story. He was telling his very recent story. He was still that college kid, from what I could tell.

Any way, the point of all that is, I don’t want people think of ME as the writer while they’re reading. I want them to get lost in my story, like they’re there. And when I’m writing from life, about life, I don’t want them to be distracted from what I’m saying by how I’m saying it. I don’t want to trap people in flat words on a screen, on a page. And when I’m writing like I am right now, I want people to feel like I’m talking to them, hearing meaning more than words.

As a writer, I’m growing. Learning. Expanding. Which is true about me, in general. The struggle with the stories – fiction and personal essays – is finishing, completing the narrative. I’ve always been bad at endings.

Even in the ongoing story out of which personal essay, memoir-esque writing, comes, even if something is not yet resolved in life, and whether or not it will be, there has to be an end to the story, an edge to the snapshot. It’s a piece of life. The life goes on.

Prose poetry may be a good niche for me. But the market is small, and I’m not just writing to get words out, I’m writing to be a writer. With readers. And prose poetry isn’t the end of where I belong.

So, what is prose poetry? Well, it’s poetry that is written in the form of short prose, lines of prose written as poetry. It doesn’t necessarily need a beginning, middle, and end, but it does need to… accomplish something… It needs to create, or evoke, an image, impression, sense, feeling. It needs to sound… feel… like poetry. A glimpse of something real. With soft edges.

Whatever I write, I’m a writer. But I need to finish more. I’m a writer, so I write…

And I read…

Hey, disclaimer here… The above books are worth checking out. In fact, I just ordered a copy of Bird by Bird because I decided I need my own while reading one I borrowed from the library; I want my oldest son to read it, too. I thought I’d tried it before and wasn’t impressed, but, well, whether or not that’s true, it’s worth it now. If you click one of my Amazon links and make a purchase, I make a small commission as an Amazon associate. It doesn’t affect your price, but does help support my blog-writing habit.

Want to know what I thought of And Every Morning and Britt-Marie? Check out these posts:
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer
Britt-Marie Was Here

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