Monday, July 4, 2011

Having Written

"I hate writing.  I love having written."  - Dorothy Parker

Many have appropriated this quote for their own purposes, including people who have taken "having written" as the title of their blogs.  Unfortunately, they got there before I did, because that was one of my original ideas for the title of this collection of jottings.  As the French say, That's Life.  (What, I had to translate it into French just because French people say it?)

The quote does bring forward, in that concise and humorous way that Parker was known for, a simple yet obstinate fact: writing is a bitch.  To say that writing is just following proper grammar (no, not Kelsey) is to say that the art of painting is nothing more than making sure your colors don't clash with the wallpaper.  So much more is involved, that to detail all of it could (and has) taken up entire careers of people much smarter and more insightful than myself.

How about another analogy?  When building a house, a contractor just has to make sure the building doesn't fall down.  The architect has to make sure the building speaks to the world, and in doing so says more than just "this is a constructed enclosure in which people hang around."  Writing, like many other disciplines, has a technical side and an artistic side.  If you want to know about the technical side, plenty of resources are available, but any writing adviser worth their salt should steer newbies to the classic by Strunk and White.  That book is one slim volume, and will stand you in good stead as far as where to place your comma and such.  Talking about the artistic side of writing could fill entire libraries.  To be continued, then.

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