January 10, 2013 by musehick
Music is a fire that lights me up and gets me thinking – it doesn’t just make me start thinking in terms of lyrics necessarily; but it does make me think lyrically. I hear words and I start to tune into the musicality of the words and the way that they play together – and this can run through the marrow of both my prose and the poetry that I write. Prose can be seen as a different discipline and I have seen it argued that it should be approached differently, but the best writers write prose poetically.
There are story-tellers and there are writers – and there are those who I would say fall into both categories. Some people you read and you sit there and you marvel at the beauty of the sentence that they have crafted and you wish that you might attain that skill and master that clarity and poetry in the turn of your own phrase. There are writers who you read and the story draws you in quickly and pulls you along like a riptide – you surface after a few hours of reading and you realise that you somehow slipped through the wardrobe into Narnia and time has slipped out of joint for the time you traveled to another world. Then there are those writers who manage to write the most aesthetically perfect sentences which also drive you along through the narrative of the story as well.
I strive to be that kind of writer – someone who writes beautifully and also entertains. Does the genre you are writing in matter? I don’t think so. I believe that beautiful writing can transcend genre and indeed some of the most beautiful and captivating writing that I have read has been by genre writers – crime writers or science fiction writers who achieve an opacity in the work that communicates wonder and the dynamic movement needed to make a story flow, and also have achieved writing that puts no writerly screen between the world being described and the reader, allowing full immersion.
If you sit there and you analyse the way Shakespeare builds his fictions, his plays, his poetry, then there is endless fuel for contemplation, but one can also quite happily just enjoy the story. Arturo Perez Reverte in “The Dumas Club”, at least as far as I could tell from the wonderful translation I read, has done this – made something that produces in me the contradictory notion that I wish to keep reading but that I also want to read slowly so that the book never ends. To achieve something of this scope and magnitude would truly satisfy me as a writer – not that I ever expect to create the perfect object, because that would be, of course, unattainable, and perhaps even an unwelcome thing … the act of striving for something being both integral to the act of creativity and life.
I want to make language sing. I want my writing to sink into the soul and make the heart dance like an infection of jazz that keeps the reader addicted and wanting to come back for more. Do I believe I can achieve this? Yes, every time I sit down to write that is the aim.