Saturday, October 19, 2013

Writerly Tip #2: Since Feeling is First

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
—the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

e. e. cummings

So, as I said on my Twitter page (#cuewritingmuse), I use this poem as an example of what TO do and also what to be careful of.
Cummings, of course, is brilliant, and uses syntax perfectly to make his point, every time.
But we're not all as brilliant as he, or at least not yet. And so we must be careful not to try so hard to be clever and different , and the current favorite, ironic, that we blow through some very smart rules.
It took me a long time to remember the rules of grammar. When you write for TV, it only matters how something SOUNDS. And so I forgot the lessons of my early visual writing life in in favor of learning the lessons of auditory flow.
And let me just digress a moment to note that sound is truly important - we should all definitely care about how words "hear" when strung together. Do you mean to be dissonant or interrupt the flow with lots of hard consonants? That's a deliberate decision.
But when you're writing for the EYES as well as the ear, you have to pay attention to those commas and those conventions, because if you don't, you obscure your own brilliant creativity.
And I know you're all brilliant, or almost there. We all are.

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