Thursday, October 28, 2010

Writer's Litmus Test

This is one of the most “amazing” things, to me, and I have never seen it. Well, I see this picture just as you do and it is still amazing, but to see it “live” could only be a guess at its magnificence. I wonder sometimes that what we think we see is not what we are looking at.

Nope, this is not a travel post. It is a writing post. OK, I will try to unravel my direction here. I was sitting in Barnes and Noble (one of my favorite places) and while I was sitting in one of the three available reading chairs, thumbing through a “writing” book. I looked up and thought: “Look at all these books”. What must have been going through the minds of all these people? Somebody had to write each and every one of those books. I wonder how many authors had “hands on” experience with each topic written about in thousands, perhaps millions, of words on all the pages in that building.

One of my worries about writing is having the correct information and background. That you have to be an expert about everything you write. That it is the truth. Maybe not completely but at least be authentic and true to the history of the article. I don’t think I am alone in this thought or there wouldn’t be so many “how to“ reference books on the market. My true nature, I think, is to not just make shit up but sometimes I get enjoyment out of doing just that. I am a great fan of the old TV series Twilight Zone so I know how important it is that a person be careful to keep the distinction between fact and fantasy clear in their mind.

But would anyone want to hear all that? I don’t know. I do. Maybe. There are a lot of other rules. Another post yesterday alluded to maybe rules are just guidelines anyway. I like that and maybe fact from fiction is just a guideline too. I suppose the reader will eventually let you know, I guess everyday is a survey for response within its self. Everyone has their own aspirations whether it is writing or reading or ‘rithmetic and how they apply to society and an audience is varied as there are number of personalities.

I bought that book. During one of the segments, the author was listing a few guidelines or hints that would indicate the readers’ interest or aptitude for being a writer. One of the things he mentioned that a writer, as a youngster, as having the characteristics of a storyteller. I am not sure I am a storyteller so I changed the interpretation of what he was saying to someone, as a youngster, enjoyed to “play-like”. Did you ever use the phrase; I am going to “play-like” I am a pirate, or let’s play school and I will be the teacher. Some of you may have read a past post of mine, Oh Me,,No Wii , where Davy Crockett and I were great partners in adventure. Suddenly I remembered, I had been to the Grand Canyon, but it was in Nacogdoches county, close to a small community called Traywick. Which incidentally, is where Hank and Billy Ray (Pork Chops and Collard Greens) used to play ( refered to as Satersville ) when they were little boys at the pulp wood yard. Back to the Grand Canyon story. This was the REAL Grand Canyon. It had to be. It was a deep gully and had a small stream running down the middle of it, and I had a miner’s pan, which was actually the top of an old fashion coffee can, and I sifted through tons of ore panning out the golden nuggets that were going to make me rich and I would buy a horse, no,, a whole western town, and I would trade it all for a new Roy Rogers guitar with an authentic rope strap and real plastic guitar pick with a picture of Roy and Dale on it.

While at the bookstore, I looked and looked for a book on “Writer’s Litmus Test”. I didn’t find one so I made up one of my own. I took it twice to see what it would tell me. I passed so from that I decided: I am gonna be a writer…

Not really just “play-like”.


  1. ,,,,,what I said over at the other blog....:)

  2. If you have the imagination to tell a great story and the willingness to do the research... well, that makes for an excellent novel.

  3. You will. And I think you will revolutionize the way commas are used, the world 'round.

  4. After thumbing through various writing books in bookshops I have decided that if you want to write - just write! No matter what, no matter where, just go for it..I am glad you have come to that conclusion too! Thanks as always for your vist..Jae

  5. Are you old enough to remember the "Turn on, tune out" saying of the 60's?

    Here's what you do darlin'.

    Sit down with your computer keyboard at the ready and JUST START TYPING.

    100,000 words later, my manuscript was ready.

    Write about what you already know. The feelings are there, you just need to let it out.

  6. My rule about writing especially in avoiding writer's block, is to stop where the action begins. Meaning, let the mind refract for the next day's writing. Also, the best advice I have received from the best of them on writing is to JUST WRITE. The rest will follow.

  7. Hey, I KNOW I read this and I'm pretty sure I commented. What the heck happened? Words go disappear!

    I think about this a lot, Glenn. Why is it that we need to look at that which is outside to know that which is within? I am like this too, lacking enough confidence to know definitively what I feel. I feel I am a writer. Sssshhh. I hate to even write that. What I really feel is that I feel like me. That happens to mean that I feel like I am a writer, feel it in my bones, feel it like a secret, felt it ever since I knew how to feel, even before that, as though I was always aware that something made me different, held me away from other people. Hell, maybe that's just because I'm not right in the head. Maybe no writers are. Maybe I'm no writer at all. Ha! Just me.

    I kind of thought that that was what you were talking about, or maybe not. Kind of thought you'd understand. But I am glad that you have the fortitude to draw up your own litmus test. You're you. To me, that's close enough. I'm not even sure you or I need paper or words. Know what I mean?

    Anyhow, hope this comment doesn't dissolve.


  8. Rules. There seems to be rules for writing...actually there are -- as I learned so many years ago in Creative Writing class. The problem with rules is that you think of them and they become more important than the writing.

    But somewhere along the way the rules disappear and are replaced with a feeling...a nudge. So when you write you tend to be nudged in the right direction -- or you purposely ignore the nudge just to be feisty. Maybe that is when one actually writes.

    You are able to convey and tap into the simple feelings that we all share. I never did come across a rule that said we are supposed to do that. It's a little like, as a reader, thinking, "He knows how I feel". I'm not sure -- perhaps it makes the reader feel important. I do know that it makes the reader feel good.

    I think Glenn, you have the passion, the talent...and the path. The path...the direction...the message.

    Just you know you have a fan in me. Keep going.

  9. Inspirational, Glenn. Every once in a while we need to re-affirm our goals. Though there's nothing wrong with playing once in a while. Isn't that what our blogs are for?