Friday, June 9, 2017

three doors

there are times when things that are cliches become alive and fresh in our lives. like, for example, thinking and writing about writing, as i have been doing of lately. as if it were possible for me to add anything new to what has already been said about writing. but i need to reach some answers on my own.

one of the issues preoccupying me is how well a writer communicates with their texts. are they able to transmit the flow to the paper? is this ability, or talent, or necessity, that which sets bad writers apart from good ones?  in my reading experience, that's exactly how i would think about it.

i see it as three doors separating a writer from the text. the first door opens as soon as one does write. but if only one door is open, the text makes the reader cringe. it is but a technicality rendered in words, with no substratum of genuine emotions or ideas. surprisingly many books are just such constructs with no heart. example: the shack. i think it is the only book that i read in the last two decades that i rated with one star.

many of the published books are the results of writing processes during which two doors were open. such 'three star' books comprise the majority of my reading material. they are solid, clever, creative works of fiction - three-legged horses that hobble on, unable to perform a majestic gallop. too much reason, or too much ambition, or too much sentimentality.

the texts that do breathe like god's creatures are the ones where all three doors were wide open when they were written. they capture the mind as equally as the heart or the soul, and have foundations that exude meaning. not all such books penetrate every reader, but they have the potential to. off the top of my head, the three books that first come to mind that could be placed in this category are: 'the land of green plums' by herta muller, 'go tell it on the mountain' by jimmy baldwin, or 'skugga-baldur' by sjon.