Resounding nothings

Bill-newby L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.

I enjoy writing. It’s unfortunate my productions are resounding nothings. Writing isn’t a labour for me.  It’s instinctive. Like my piano playing. Though that isn’t saying much either.  It’s an appetite whose measure is its own satisfaction whatever the insipid result.

It’s all very well to say there are limitless choices about what to write. That never makes the task a breeze.  Sticking to hard facts is no easier a path than creating a fantasy.  I do however steer clear of vulgar details. At least those calculated to attract prurient interest.  I’ll leave that to others.  I’m still not comfortable sacrificing any possible literary skill to the accommodation of mere amusement.

The edict to write about what you know is far more effort than implied.  I guess it’s because what we know and what we say we know are not always the same thing.  And we seldom express it in the same way we think it.  Opening the doors to the private rooms of our mind requires the same trust and enthusiasm as entertaining others in one’s own home.  I admit I’ve always been bedevilled by the need to put on a good show when entertaining others. But of course the preoccupation can render an otherwise pleasant communion stilted.

So you’re back to being yourself.  I accept that the prescription is valid even though swallowing it isn’t a snap.  Somehow I understand that as dull as any one of us thinks he or she is, we’re really quite singular. Our stories are far more unique and intriguing than we may give them credit.  It’s a challenge to resist the temptation to make the account more than an historical record. But that immediately defeats the purpose.  Designing what one says is destined to be dull.

Reading improving books is motivating. But listening to a great concert pianist will not impart the same talent. One has to accept the inherent limitations upon talent.  Some writers have brilliant minds and a vast personal experience.  To say we’re not that person is not helpful.  In nature there are some flowers which are more glorious than others but each of them shines in their own way.  And not one of them will transform themselves into anything different.  I guess it’s just disappointing to be a roadside weed instead of an orchid if you see what I mean.