Thursday, September 18, 2008

Writers on Writing

I was introduced to Seattle Arts & Lectures by a collegue several years ago. She always attended the lectures and highly recommended them. Over the years, I've been to a few lectures here and there, but this year I decided to buy tickets to the series. I know of most of the guest lecturers and thought I might even enjoy those few I wasn't familiar with.

Last night was the first in the series. The guest was Richard Russo, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Empire Falls and a few other novels and stories. He spoke on writing with humor. He had us all laughing and brought home some great points with his excellent humor. I was especially touched with his observation that, although anyone can write, good writing comes from really seeing. He provided an anecdote about a commode placed squarely in the middle of the back deck bringing attention to an old grave stone that had been in the back yard since before his family had moved into the house. It was the juxtaposition of the two objects that helped him see the one that was there for longer than he had been.

He also reminded me that in order to be a writer, you must act like a writer -- or be a writer. I often think that having a blog helps me be a writer, but at the same time I realize that I have chosen other priorities. I love to write and find it both enlightening and cathartic. However, I'm not ready to make it a priority in my life where I do it faithfully on a daily basis and really build my talent.

For now, I'll look for humor where I can and write when I can make it a priority. I won't be writing the next great American novel, but I sure will enjoy the writing I do. I'll also find myself inspired by accomplished writers as I go to the other lecurers in the series.

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