So, insomnia can’t be all that bad. I’ve started pontificating, if you will, on all of the reasons why I have suddenly become such an ineffective insomniac. See, I didn’t mind it so much when I was even mildly productive with it. But, these nights–er, mornings, find me frustrated and on the verge of contemplating the Godiva liquor. How long does that stuff last once you’ve opened it anyway?
I used to stay up late, and pen into the night all things dark and fantastic. It hasn’t been so much like that these last few nights. That could do with my husband speaking and flailing his arms about in his sleep…last night he was shooting the breeze with another investigator at the local precinct…hehehe. Have you ever heard someone LAUGH in their sleep? It’s entertaining.
I’ve had a hard time writing on my own projects these last couple weeks. I suppose it all has to do with getting used to a new routine and saying goodbye to the old one. I used to write every day from either 2-3 or 3-4, in the conference room where I worked (in addition to 4 or 5 hours at night). This was perfect because there wasn’t anything else in the room, and for God’s sake it was a nearly sound proof room. Here at the house, there are dishes to be done, laundry to fool with, a house to be cleaned and a whole host of other things that suddenly seem to be so very important. A nice tall glass of ice tea seems more than a little necessary to begin this next paragraph, or a biscuit and hot tea/coffee are absolutely necessary for the last few pages of this draft.
And all of this has made me think about how I write. Not so much the physical, knees curled in an unhealthy position, kind of way, but more how I write in a technical sense. Mark Twain said it best, in a letter to D.W. Boser, ” I notice that you use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English–it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don’t let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don’t mean utterly, but kill most of them–then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are wide apart. An adjective habit, or a wordy, diffuse, flowery habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice.”
This makes sense. Does it matter that my style is simplistic? No. I write epic worlds at war. I need the reader to be focused more on what I am telling them and not the words I choose to tell them with. Those are merely tools. You should finish a great work of literature, really any book worth its salt, and only remember the whole of it. Indeed some passages stay with us, some sentences strike out on their own and linger for days after you’ve read them, but novel prose shouldn’t, and cannot, remain in such a flowery state eternally. ‘Elemental’ is not a mark of childish or immature writing, merely the description of how much it takes to understand what the writer is trying to say. Which, if that is the case, then a great many bodies of literature are elementary, to include much of the constitution. Don’t we study it in grammar school?
So, enough potchking around (thanks to T.J. Sullivan in LA for bringing that little gem into my vocabulary!)…I am off to write.