As almost any book on writing and its various facets, this one will also address the aspects of showing and telling. But it will address show and tell from another angle.
During my last three years in my writing career and especially recently, I realized that I joined a strange species of the working population.
We, writers, want to write books we ourselves want to read, … and on the other hand, we want others to love them.
Or we write motivational and guide books to pull ourselves out of initially hopeless situations. At the same time, we hope these books will pull out other people of their own miseries too.
What is interesting, whether others read our works or not, they survive. No one seems to need what we do for their daily and most urgent needs.
This is true. Also we, who not only write but also love reading, don’t need the written word to survive physically. But we do need it to enrich our lives, to decorate them. Just like paintings decorate our environments and make them a special experience to be within.
Or like music and songs. I recently read about an inspiring encounter of Elizabeth Gilbert with the famous songwriter Tom Waits. Here is what she writes in the chapter “Tom Waits Chimes In” in her latest book “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear”:
“… through watching his children create so freely, Waits had an epiphany: It [his work] wasn’t actually that big a deal. He told me, ‘I realized that, as a songwriter, the only thing I really do is make jewelry for the inside of other people’s minds.’ Music is nothing more than decoration for the imagination. That’s all it is. That realization, Waits said, seemed to open things up for him. Songwriting became less painful after that.”
“Intracranial jewelry-making! What a cool job!” exclaimed Liz Gilbert in the next paragraph of her book.
I completely agree. What we do is not vital. But it’s cool, and much of it is beautiful.
And yes, this realization takes off huge stones of one’s shoulders. It took quite a few tones off of mine.
If I would have been a jewellery maker I wouldn’t expect my creations change someone’s lives. I would just hope that people would find something they like out of what I offer. That is all. And I am sure that I would not be so naive as to think that each piece that I would create, be some kind of a talisman, and that each of these talismans had to be bought and loved.
Yes some jewellery is special and can be a talisman. And still, it’s not something that will nurture and save you in a critical situation.
But on the other hand, you do expect a lot, when you enter a jewellery shop. You expect to find something special. The best creations the jeweller has to offer. And you are fascinated most when you see that the creator of those tiny intricate works of art has put all of himself inside them, all his heart, and that each creation has a story.
It is easy to find parallels from the above to fiction writing. But does this apply only to fiction?
I don’t think so. The guide books are not important to survive either, even if some of them contain the words “survival guides” in their titles. The guide books are like those fancy knives with zig-zag edges, which will never be able to be described as essential, but the cooking and styling your dinner becomes so much fun with them. Or much faster, or much easier. But still most people could do without them.
So why are those fiction, and guide books still worth it if they are not essential for immediate survival?
Maybe because we hope to create and offer something inspiring, enlightening, lifting spirits, and which helps ourselves and others enjoy this adventure called life.
As I was writing this article, one of my friends shared the following quote by G.D. Falksen on Facebook:
“Art is not necessary for life. Art is necessary for making life worth living.”
So let’s show each other the jewellery we create. Let’s show each other what we’ve got. I’m sure we will find there something extraordinary for each other. Something we could have never found in our own world.
Best-selling authors, and developers of Instantaneous Transformation, Ariel and Shya Kane, said something wonderful and truly revealing in this respect,
“One person’s ordinary is another’s extraordinary.”
Picture: Nature and her jewellery. The rose in front of our house offers an amazing array of colours, and even when the bloom has lost it’s petals, it’s still incredibly beautiful.
“Cheerleading For Writers”, copyright © 2016 by Victoria Ichizli-Bartels