Friday, May 16, 2008

On Writing.

I remember when I thought I had learned how to play chess. I was about 10. I had been taught how and how far each chess piece moved on the board. I had learned only the first rules and the objective, but in my mind I knew how to play chess. Today, I still can't play past the elementary level.

The same is true when I learned how to play a few chords on the guitar. I was older and smart enough to know that a few guitar strums a player doesn't make, but was still surprised how difficult it was to master. I never did. I knew what sound I wanted to make, getting there took more time than I wanted to give.

Writing is like that. We all write things down, in lists, email, and memos, and sometimes even a handwritten letter. It intrigues me how difficult it is to do it well. I read an essay last week, maybe 1500 words, and it was like listening to rain fall in the natural way the words formed ideas in sentence and paragraph. The writer had made it look easy. It isn't.

Like a musician, I have a sound in mind I want to imitate, but it is as difficult to write well as it is to play the guitar well. Writing, like many things in life, is easy to learn and hard to master.

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