Good evening, my name is Sue and I’m a logophile.
I blame it on my parents, of course. My mother who would correct my grammar, spelling and mispronunciation of words but would read me stories every night and recite long speeches and I never got tired of hearing her do the Dame Ethel Evans “A handbag” from “The Importance” My father who would come out with strange expressions and idioms he came across whilst dealing with his local, Nottinghamshire clients, “It’s a bit black over Bill’s Mothers” and ” puckyacky” and “All the world and his mate” . Then there was the scrabble games, and listening to dramas on the radio and quiz programmes such as My Word. I grew up with “Letters from America” in contrast to “ISIRTA” ( TOWIE – you are not original) From Listen with Mother to The Sunday play to Book at Bedtime.
Then at the tender age of three my parents forced me to enter places of learning, where I was led through Janet and John through Enid Blyton and on to Shakespeare’s Hamlet soliquising whether to die or not, so eloquently, and Owen commanding we do not forget, and Henry Reed daydreaming of spring whilst remembering never to use his finger to release the safety-catch.
In a place of education you would think that things would improve, I would get help for my increasing desire to rhyme and roll my ‘rs’ and recite great lengths of words that no-one else would look at. But no, shock of horrors they fed me even more. Now it was the turn of the big boys, a new language that taught me new tricks of delivery and made me desire even more. Chaucer,
Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote | (Line 1)
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote, | (Line 2)
And bathed every veyne in swich licour | (Line 3)
Of which vertu engendred is the flour; | (Line 4)
Yes, I was forced into it I’m afraid, and it has been my life long addiction and passion and desire. Oh to be able to alliterate like Dylan Thomas, ” the slow black, sloe black fishing boat bobbing sea” to liberate words and sounds like Elliot, ” McCavity, McCavity there’s no-one like McCavity, or even just to write nonsense with delicious sounds and repetition perhaps feeling the pain as I awake from dreams screaming, ” I do not like them in a box, I do not like them with a fox, I do not like them Sam I am, I do not like green eggs and ham!”
But all is not lost, and I think I am on my way back. It’s all about control and precision. In desperation I returned to the greats, but not so much in poetry but in prose and non-fiction. Hemmingway’s award winning “The Old Man of the Sea”
written so well, an allegorical tale that doesn’t need words of more than five syllables to make it rich. The story in its very simplicity becomes powerful to the reader by relating to them each to his/her own level. Perhaps one of the turning points was to read Orwells’ account of why he writes. He confesses the struggle within him and the desire to write more truth than fiction, “I do not say I am going to produce a work of art” he writes “but to expose a lie, a fact to be made known and to be heard”
There it is, that ray of light that must be my focal point and my reference. I must practice and hone my craft and produce work that at first is about passion and writing the truth as I see it. It is about working to a form such that the purpose of writing is clear; if I can give clarity by searching for the exact word to use then I am being a writer, not doing a word count.
How do I set about learning this skill? How can I improve and learn and grow? For one, stop using “the power of three” I say to myself, which in itself has now become a cliché.
What do others recommend? I went into self-diagnosis mode and researched the internet. How to become a better writer? Come on google, give me all you have!
Yes a host of advice and do’s and don’ts and lists. Simplyfi. (deliberate) to top three
1: Know what you want to say. Plan it all out and be certain of the key message
2. Draft, read, cut, write, read, cut, read aloud, practice, write again, read, cut….. until you have it just right (write)
3. Write to involve your reader. They are the important ones, the message is yours to give, you are but the servant of the message.
Hmmmm so how do I manage that?
Become involved. Do not wallow in the self-pitying pride of your own obsession. Get out there and enjoy being with people. Experience that wonderful thing we call life using all your senses. See our beautiful earth, Smell the coffee, roses, the damp air, and the pungent aroma of the seasons. Taste something new, something different and share a meal with friends. Get up to hear the dawn chorus, stay awake to hear the nightingale’s last chirp, listen to the cries of children, the enthusiasm of youth, the cacophony of business, the wisdom of age and the closure of sleep. Feel the heat of the summer, the chill of night air, the dryness of autumn and the freshness of April rain but most of all feel the human touch of mankind. We do not always live in harmony, but when we cry and laugh together we bond. We do not all live in luxury but when we give in compassion we connect. Non of us are perfect and when we can recognise the perfection in others in whatever form we are united.
When I can do all that I will write with conviction and combine prose with poetry.
I am Sue. I am a professional writer. This is my story. to be contd.