And it’s slow, so slow the idea,
The coming around of a sensible word.
It hovers and shakes like a hummingbird wing
At the end of a long hot year.
Kelly Joe Phelps – Tight to the Jar
Mr. Phelps very well captures the essence of writing in the bridge from Tight to the Jar. Always the task of the writer is to make the words sensible–knowing that is easy. How to do it, well that’s a whole ‘nother deal.
After finishing my second draft of Shadow of the Black City, I’m ready to once again try my hand at the short story form. It’s been about 120 K written words since I tried it last, as well as a few hundred thousand words of reading. We’ll see how it goes.
The short story is intimidating to me because I can’t sprawl too far from the center of the story. It’s a tincture of story, a concentrated drop of emotion, a distillation of character. Hopefully it doesn’t come on too strong early and leave the reader wanting at the end.
For the past eleven months I’ve probably written somewhere around 300,000 words between two drafts of my novel, a few pieces of flash fiction, a short story that started out at 10k words that I eventually whittled back to just under 4k, and this blog. Each day of writing represents a cumulative honing of my craft.
And I can tell.
With each stringing together of words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs and so on, my writing feels less rickety. It’s kind of like a rubble trench, a hodgepodge of debris that alone is weak and useless. Pile up enough of it, and you’ve got something.
I’m chucking all kinds of stuff into the trench. Eventually it will be full and I look forward to building something strong on it, something pleasing and comforting.
If you’ve never listened to Kelly Joe Phelps and you like acoustic, slide and fingerstyle guitar (not to mention kickass songwriting), check him out on the You Tube. Seriously.