Why? Do tell, T. S. - and then tell of the extra L you put in there, which my proofreading eye keeps wanting to change to cruelest.
This signature line, the beginning of the epic poem The Waste Land, seemed a good place to start. Not because it is April, but because it made me think how writing peculiarities are what separates the very good from the great.
It’s the artist’s “know the rules and then break the rules.”
I wonder if the How To books and the mechanical spell-checkers computer writing programs affect real creativity. I doubt they add to artistry in any way, and worry they may squelch it.
I look back at the very first stories I wrote with the intention to put them out in the world at large. What I wrote the first two years would be classified as unpublishable. I had not yet immersed myself in industry-mavens’ wisdom. I wrote using intuition and native sensibility. I created wholly original stories that, I later learned, would have a prospective editor hurl the pages at the wall in exasperation. Or, worse, have the editor laugh and read them to colleagues as examples of ineptitude.
As I began to read about what was expected, I tucked my initial efforts deep in the drawer and shuddered at ever re-reading any of these embarrassments. But something in me made sure I didn't burn the pages or delete the files.
Yesterday I opened one of the stories by accident. I was looking for another file and clicked on the wrong one. I found myself face to face with a story that broke all the rules. Well, not all, but close.
I didn't cringe. I marveled. It’s probably unpublishable, but it is different, full of the unexpected, and connected to the life-source of good writing in a way many of my later, more conventional offerings, are not.
It may be time to get back to the beginning and forget a lot of what I have learned. Ah, the cruelty of April.
May is going to be busy. Lots of shedding to do.