Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Insecure...

Have you ever read something so good that it made you question any aspirations you ever had to write? In some ways that's the price of falling in love with someone's work isn't it? I read a lot of good books, but seldom do I read something that makes me feel insecure. I know my weaknesses. I'm not a word-smith, though I wish I were. I write in a linear way-- the journalistic background no doubt-- and I'm intimidated by prose because I know mine will veer into purple territory all too easily. But I know good prose when I see it. I admire it and linger over the beautiful phrasing. It reminds me why language is important and how beautiful it can be in skilled hands. I wonder if the writer wrestles with words the way I do-- and I know intuitively that he does not. How could anything so lovely and natural fight its way out when it seems to flow off the page? But the story is calling and I must return to it no matter how inadequate it makes me feel.

5 comments:

Emily Cross said...

Yes, *sigh*

I've gotten it a couple of times when i've read something utterly amazing which makes me feel entirely stupid and inept!

Then i read something silly and it makes me feel better :)

Good luck writing :)

Stewart Sternberg said...

All men want to be me....all women want to be with me. Read prose that made me feel inferior by comparison? HAahahahahahahaha. I usually read something amazing and think, "ah, not bad, but had I written it?" To prove my point, I've reinvented all of Shakespeare's sonnets, translating them into eight other languages in the process.

logankstewart said...

Absolutely. But the opposite effect is true, too, when you read something so horrible that you feel like you may just have a chance after all.

Sullivan McPig said...

I often feel jealous when a writer thinks up a really cool character or idea. I even have it with characters and such in tv series, thinking: "Why didn't I think of that?"

Otherwise I try not to let really good writing get my down.
I must say I have the advantage of writing in dutch: most dutch writers either write too 'ladida, look at me writing literature' (and I do not aspire to write like that) or so bad that even my dyslectic familymembers can write better prose.

Craig said...

I know what you mean. It only makes it worse when you read something like that and it hasn't been published.