Your most difficult challenge as a writer will be one of motivation–why do you write? Every serious writer must ask this question, in that dark night of the soul, as Rilke once advised to a young poet, and every writer must face the answer. What you’ll find when you ask this question (slowly you must ask yourself into a mirror and quickly you must answer) is that there is some sort of goal involved–fame, fortune, publication, recognition from other published and/or artistic writers, love, lust, power, a job, etc. When we begin treading the path, we have a focal point in the distance that motivates us–a tall tree, a mountain, even climbing up the mountain itself. But here’s the thing–you’re never going to get to that tall tree, that mountain, or even the top of that mountain. Not the way you think, anyway.
All literature is about being as clear as possible. This is an art form of smoky images and emotions, of myths and legends. Deciphering from a written language, we conjure in our minds the setting, the characters, the actions; and within all of this is its either plain or complex style of language. Every piece of literature that has been produced and ever will falls prey to being boring and bland to the casual onlooker. Literature doesn’t have the advantages of the visual to show itself right away–it must be worked for. And because it can always be whittled down to just blocks of words, it is clarity that separates inspiring, meaningful, and artistic work from the rest. If a work is clear, it rises out above the page it is printed on and catches us in the dream it is weaving. Then we miss our train stop and love the book for that. Continue reading