Each Word is an Investment

Thought for my writing day:

“Every medium has its limitations, and the central limitation of writing is that readers can only apprehend one word at a time, in order. Because of this, we are denied the grand simultaneities permitted to other arts. A symphonic chord, with its dimensions of harmony and tone color and dynamics and duration, can be heard all at once; a landscape, with its dimensions of form and color and scale, can be seen in an instant. But we have to talk a world into being. Ours is a spare art, an art of losses, and even our grand monuments are built one brick at a time.” (Elizabeth Bishop)

To torture the metaphor, too many bricks make for an ugly building. (Memo to self: Cut! Cut!) Too little mortar means the whole structure collapses. (Memo to self: You know what’s going on in the story. Let the reader in on the secret.)

Your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.