I’ve written before about the poignancy of regret in “I Want to Live!,” a story that manages to weave the nineteenth-century German philosopher Schopenhauer’s ideas around a bantam rooster named Mr. Barnes.
As a former winner of the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, I've had the privilege of serving as one of the judges for several years. My "work" is reading stacks of southern novels, and attending the luncheon and reception in New York, honoring the authors.
When my grandmother died a few years ago, she left behind her own mother's trunk, filled with photographs (some of them dating from the mid 1800s), stacks of old postcards, a few tragic telegrams, and a letter signed by J. Edgar Hoover about my missing great-aunt, who'd run off to California.
Metaphor, simile, details-- these are not just tools for the poet. The best journalists, essayists, novelists-- know how avoid clichés (like the plague...ha!) and use sharp details to create vivid pictures. I love coming across these beauties when I read. Here are some favorites:
When I remember how ferocious revising can be– that it’s tearing down, peeling away, sanding, brushing off, discovering–I can get the real work done. It’s a comfort to know revision is re-visioning, casting a new light on your draft, seeing new connections.