Friday, August 19, 2011

Indefinable, and Day 2 of Writing Challenge

To begin with I give you Day Two of the 15-day Writing Challenge! :)

Day Two: Your Favorite Male Author

Why, oh why, oh why must these question be so difficult?! I cannot choose just one favorite male author. It's a physical impossibility, I think! :P But I suppose I can limit it to two:

1. Charles Dickens--his brilliancy never ceases to amaze me. The masterful way in which he sketches the foils and idiosyncrasies of his characters and Victorian society is stunning. He has a wicked sense of humor...he's entirely quoteable. :) And I can say I know him pretty well, having made my way through several of his novels:

Little Dorrit

Bleak House

Nicholas Nickleby

The Chimes

The Cricket on the Hearth

The Christmas Carol

Great Expectations

Barnaby Rudge

A Tale of Two Cities

And David Copperfield, which I am almost 1/2 way through. :)

2. Close second behind Dickens is C.S. Lewis because....he's amazing. His writing says the things my heart longs to find words to say. I have never read a more beautiful allegory than The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Some of the times I yearn for Heaven most is when I'm reading the ending bliss of The Last Battle. It's beautiful, and reflects the relationship Lewis had with his Lord and Savior. :)

And now I find I must leave you on a bit of a sober note, for last night I was pen-slain. Ahem. ;) I read something that completely challenged my opinion of my own writing and caused me to wonder if I was a writer after all. The only remedy for that was, I felt, to write about it. And so I did. :) You can read the musings of my bewildered pen below. And though I am not quite so gloriously dismayed this morning, I thought I'd let you read it, that it might encourage or sympathize with one of my dear readers. ~Rachel

“Indefinable: a confession of beauteous pain”

By Rachel Heffington

I sit down to the computer and pull my chair closer to the desk. It is a new writer’s blog—new to me, a least—which I am visiting. Scrolling through the recent posts, my heart warms to this author. “She has good imagery and technique,” I think in my settled, complacent mind. I click on a page marked “writing” and prepare to read a cute paragraph or two about her literary endeavors—something like the page I have on my own blog.

I read her descriptions, then settle myself in to scan through her sample chapter. The first words capture my attention. Beautifully written, neatly-turned sentences.

All at once the sheer talent of this author hits me with blinding force. Her descriptions are perfect, her imagery flawless. I am captivated by the bewitching flash of her turns of phrase and my heart aches with…a feeling indefinable.

Indefinable, why? Because I have realized, with shocking, white illumination that my pen, my mind, my imagination is too feeble to even define the sensation, let alone attain such splendor.

The hour’s work I had been so proud of yesterday shrivels, pales, and wizens into a shabby child’s picture-book challenging a leather-bound, gilt-edged novel. I shrink from this realization as one does from a celestial light.

This writer’s words are beautiful, and yet painful to me. Like one who tremblingly steals a glance at a sight too lovely for mortals, I continue to read the singing lines, the shimmering prose.

How can I ever think I am a writer after seeing such an example? My heart throbs at the thought that my beloved passion already has one who can serve it better than I myself can.

And yet, the pain is purifying; it has touched the deepest chords of my heart, and evoked a melody pregnant with longing. Longing to be a better writer, longing to spin such webs of enchantment over my readers.

I can see I have only dabbled on the surface of the great depths this writer has dredged. My words are pretty and quaint, hers beautiful and knowing.

I will never be such a writer, will I? And yet a few drops of the purifying light cling to my heart like the fairy-lamps of the fireflies in the many-hued dusk. The ache her words awaken is not a new ache. I am familiar with the sensation, for it keens in my chest when I gaze on the evening sunset cupped in the hands of the pines—a goblet of golden light spilling onto an azure cloth in the banqueting hall of the heavens.

This writer has done what I have not yet managed to do: She has found words in which to liberate the beauty on wings of passionate expression…

Her pen has cut deep. It has shaken the very foundations of my craft and shown me how very transient my writing is. It has caused me pain and made me question my fitness as a writer.

And yet it is strange. I cannot despise her for it. No indeed. The wound is like gold thrown into a furnace, that the dross may be purged. And perhaps my wondering heart may take comfort in the imagery: my writing and talent may be, in some part, valuable. But I must welcome these cuts to my pride, these wounds in my flesh, that the gold will emerge from the wondrous pain a purer and lovelier piece of craftsmanship.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Rachel. My dear Rachel. I, at least, know exactly where you are coming from. And, knowing this as I do, I would have you pause a moment. I would have you go back and read this post. Rachel, it is stunning. Your use of words to convey your innermost feelings: your doubt, your struggle with a prose different from your own, your feelings of incompetency... You have made it all beautiful. I can feel your very heartstrings shaking. I can feel you striving to rise above it all. And it is beautiful. You have words, my dear, at your fingertips, ready to do your will, that are simply drenched in beauty and light. And they way you string them together, the polished, effortless way, is stunning.

And, well, I suppose that's all I have to say. That and, "HEY! You stole my favorite male authors!" Now my post today will have to be a mirror image of your own. :P

Imogen said...

I almost laughed when I read that you felt that your writing was no good. I've only been reading your blog for a few days, but the very first thing that struck me about it was your wonderful writing style. It's enough to make me downhearted to read your wonderful writing.


Carilyn said...

Would you be willing to share the blog you mention? =) No matter how good this other young lady is, though, don't beat yourself up. You are a wonderful writer and you have tons of talent!

Anonymous said...

Read what you just wrote I feel exactly as you did reading that girls blog whenever I read your blog.