Capturing the essence

I know exactly what I want to say.

Penning it — or in my world, keying it — becomes the true difficulty. Forming the thoughts and feelings into patterns of letters and punctuation is what a writer does. I can attest that it’s not as easy as one might think. In fact, to do it well is quite laborious.

It’s not enough to simply throw words together in earnest. The writer also needs to craft the sentences. To write for a public. To stray from using those “quarter words” that make the writer seem very smart, but not completely literate, and instead shape paragraphs with different structures to keep the reader interested. Don’t play down to the crowd, but don’t go over their head.

Find that stalemate in the middle, where neither side can do any better and a draw is called. Try too hard, and you sound pre-packaged. Try too little, and you sound like Fox News, devoid of soul, lacking creativity.

Too many times I saddle up to the keyboard and draw blanks, rattling off a discouraging round of noisy, harmless misses. When I re-read my words, I realize I’ve been defeated – a gunfighter with his pistol dropped, staring up the barrel of a legend’s piece.

I realize there’s no way to become better unless I try, and I can’t try if I don’t stop comparing myself to my idols.

My dream in becoming an author is to “capture an essence,” to be the man that brings memories of your past back to you.

New Orleans’ passion and livelihood may be lost for a few years, but someone has already written chapters on its history. A history that reeks of garbage and beignets. A history that’s bloated from Bourbon, and passed out from it’s own self-indulgence.

The smell of the London Underground isn’t soon to be re-created as an eau du toilette, but some of the senses that have experienced it’s shifting, balance ruining rails have brought the experience to it’s readers, reminding all who love the subway of its horrible enjoyments: the people, the travel, the passion that is both found then lost as passengers board and depart.

Seattle smells like rain. We all know that. But describing the rain, the market, the ocean, is a gift that can rouse a sleeping reminiscence in all that fell in love with it’s streets. Yeah, the Needle is nice, but the city itself is the real landmark.

To write, to travel, to capture the essence; that’s the dream I’m providently inching towards. It could happen tomorrow. Or, it could happen thirty years from now, years after I’m expecting a break but with enough time to still use whatever skill I have. Regardless of the time frame, I’m ready right now. I’m prepared to make the jump.

I just need a ledge to grab for.

This was lovingly handwritten on February 13th, 2006