I’m finding that the process of writing sometimes gets in the way of the goal of writing, which is storytelling.
Language may be the most important gift from the genetic dance that formed us. It allows us to remember things and share ideas beyond tribe and lifetime. But writing is a johnny-come-lately at maybe 6,000 years old or so, and writing seems to want to squash the tempo out of language.
I have to admit a little bit of a grudge against you, Alphabet. After all, you hijacked our stories. Oh, Alpha, I know you didn’t mean to, and I know it was important to count heads of cattle and amphorae of wine so we could get on with the business of civilization. But, Alphabet, you made us too often ignore the music of language. Before you came along, I suspect that there were no stories without music. Even if unaccompanied by instrument or choir, spoken words always have music. The oral tradition values that sound and rhythm. You can still get whiffs of it today, but modern media often override sound and rhythm with sound bites and volume. It’s hard to compress art into a Tweet.
I spent a lot of my career writing for business. Precise, accurate, dry writing. Facts strung together by logic in pursuit of matters legal and financial, didactic and persuasive. I enjoyed it … there is a challenge to making something clear in as few words as possible. Writing the novel has been different and harder. Tone and rhythm are take effort to maintain. I test out my words by speaking them. I do it to find their natural melody. I have a pretty strong suspicion that nobody’s going to read something with no beat and no flow.