Sunday, October 6, 2013

Word Worker

 I began writing these essays almost two years ago. My original idea was to use the format as a way of encouraging my own love for the form by setting a schedule that would require me to exercise it. Having worked in a world of deadlines for so many decades, it is a habit that is hard to break. It is also good discipline for one who works alone. There are now more than 110 of these short takes on life. I’m never, it would seem, at a loss for words.

Another reason for starting such a time-related project was to introduce myself, and my particular (some say skewed) view of the world, to more readers. The hope, of course, is that such a step would increase interest in my previously published work: Accidents of Time and Place: A Novel, and Mixed Freight - Checking Life’s Baggage, a collection of earlier essays. That, in turn, should lead to a larger audience for new books that will follow. How well that has worked is hard to gauge, but there has been a change in traffic to my website, and to sales, so perhaps this is working. What’s really important to me, is that I can resolve the compulsion to commit writing, without having to distract myself from whatever long-form project I may have in the computer at the time.

Not everything that I write has the merit of being worthy of a lot of words or work. As an observer of my own world, and the interactions with others and their worlds, it is often enough to sum up what I see or feel or believe in a quick, easy to digest form. And it is fun.

Writing, for me, has always been enjoyable. I don’t agonize over what I write. I do work and worry words until I am satisfied with what I have said, and the way I have said it. Working over a given piece of writing too long is not always the best way to make it better. The danger is that you become so immersed in the words that you forget or slight the intent.

Why I write is more important than what I write. I love the play of words with one-another, but one can play forever and end up with only that: play. The reason we have words, the usefulness of speech, whether spoken or written or even illustrated, is to say something so that others may hear it. We hear with our eyes as well as our ears, and sometimes with our skin I think. We "feel" the meaning of words; a visceral understanding when the clear expression of what we say is not always communicated in the mode in which it was created. The goal, either in writing or telling, is to be understood, so that with understanding, one may find answers to the questions life proposes.

Making words do their job is what writing is all about.

Writers write, but words work!

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