Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How you write is as important as what you Write

Style is way you shape your words into sentences, paragraphs, chapters. . .etc.
I will use a simple sentence to show how different styles
affect what you want to say. I will start with basic sentence :
Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.
This sentence is written in easy language, is straight forward
and thus is perfect for a young audience. But consider this sentence :
The two of them, Jack and Jill, went alone up the hill, telling others that they were going to fetch some water.
Basically, this sentence says the same thing as the first sentence but it also hints of something else. The hidden question is What were they really doing? this might not be a good sentence for little kids but you might also be joking (kids are very savvy these days).
What does the following sentence seem to be saying ?
Somewhere, perhaps the top of the hill, there was a well from which Jack and Jill were getting their water.
I believe that this sentence sets a scene in which you the reader do not know for sure where Jack and Jill were going. this might be good for a mystery story. How about this next sentence?
Water, that precious commodity, was what our heroes, Jack and Jill, were after when they started their climb up that hill.
I believe that this sentence sets the scene for an adventure - the water was needed and the heroes were sent to get it. And why did heroes have to be sent ? The sentence seems to be asking those questions. How about this sentence:
Jill was radiant with Jack holding her hand, she scarcely noticed the steepness of the hill or the weight of the pail she carried, only the gleam in his eye held her attention.
I think that this might be something out of a romance novel. Can you now see that how you write is as important as what you are saying. All these sentences say the same thing but different messages seem to come from them.
I hope this gives you some ideas on how to write.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Before the Arrival of Spring

I can't wait, he said.
But I knew he could.
And would.
I knew him as I know myself. Yet
the white ground clouds my sensibilities
and Around habitual haunts. The drear realness of today -
Hell I thought but there was another answer -
She stood a cross
frozen in time on ground stiff with protocol
Sh-sh-shoulding on shoulders unaware
Selfless egos didn't care
Was I one of them or was the heart, my emotional package,
loaded with hope waiting
for another new thing, with warmth and promises,
when here you lie
and I can't say goodbye,
Not Yet.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Childhood's End

It was 4:35 on Saturday afternoon,
"Dinner" Mom cried, "time to put away your toys!"
But someone had to get Dad 'cause he wasn't back yet from the gas
So my sister Mary and I do the dirty work,
Mary because she can drive and me 'cause she doesn't want to go alone.
She is mad, feeling put upon
"Why do I have to do this shit?" she asks rhetorically,
she knows the answer - she can drive, mom cannot.
Mom needs to watch the supper, protect it, nurture it
keep it from catching cold, save it from burning.
Someone needs to be home in case HE comes back .
Mother must be that someone.
So we drive somewhere
maybe its the tavern
maybe its his girlfriend's apartment
maybe its the police station
Nowhere this ten year old wants to be.
Nowhere this ten year old hasn't been.
"How damn long does it take to get gas?" Another rhetorical question.
"I mean, hell, it's been four and a half hours. Does she really believe
it takes 4 and 1/2 hours to get gas." I don't answer.
I am hoping that he will have a story -
Something with spies and secret agents,
Something that cleans the ugly obvious,
Just like on TV.
I go alone
Into the bar
And I see him through the smoke, he laughs -
his place, his bar buddies, his other woman
(without a warning word, my perspective shatters)
And as I clear my head of childish illusions,
a new world appears
One in which,
I lead this middle aging drunk man out the door,
And I know it is time to put my toys away.

Frank Coughlin April 2006