Day by Day 61
Day by Day is an exercise in collecting the new thoughts and conversations that happen to me each day. They strike me as profound, important, and delightful.
In this Age of Social Media, I will usually keep it concise, concentrated, and audio-d.
Most statements are declarative, because that is how they were presented to me.
I. General Truths
Wisdom is merely the turn of a phrase, where wit meets paradox.
The future belongs to the optimist, history to the pessimist. This is the first line to an essay written by a youth who cannot reconcile the two.
On a good day, even dolts can see the landscape of the cosmos. But, the one who observes the details sustains a clear picture.
II. Know Thyself
I have never understood how much I don’t know, until recently. My learning these past few months has been so concentrated, that ignorance fell on me like a concrete ceiling.
What do you know? And how much is that knowledge part of you?
III. What is Good Writing?
Imagination is essential to good writing. An imagination must be extremely disciplined. You must be able to conceive of an entire scene, not only as if you are there, but as if it is real. Then, you exclude all the unnecessary information. You cannot write with words if you do not know senses.
I used to think that good writing was a masterful performance of grand metaphor. I now see, however faint, that grand metaphor is far too easy to perform for a master craftsman to be necessary.
I used to think that good writing requires the reader to work so that they can enjoy it or understand. This is false.
Showing a landscape through details is good writing. This is the dividing objective line. You are either good at showing or bad at showing. Good writing is intriquing, clear, and beneficial – in that order, too. It intrigues them enough, so that they follow clear action, so that they are benefited.
If you have readers, do they see the same thing as you?
IV. Metaphors and a Lack of Thought
It takes a master craftsman to show.
Metaphors that your mind has to dwell on are not effective for description. Being clever is no excuse for jolting a reader out of sight and into thinking.
Compare these two metaphors.
“He crosses the consulting room’s endometrial carpeting, his marvellously ugly face like a clenched fist in a glove puppet.”
“Prince Andrew shrugged his shoulders and frowned, as lovers of music do when they hear a false note.”
If we are similar, you dwelled on what a clenched first in a glove puppet actually looks like.
I had to think about what that looked like, so I could then think about how it looked like an ugly face. It is two steps of thought before sight.
The second metaphor, however, provides immediate sight even before thought.
V. Conclusion of These Studies
Thinking must be in the background while sight takes over. This is key to intruding into the minds of your enemies and taking them captive.
Writing is a room. It is a place to go to and leave. The more you come and go, the less you think about the movement and the more you think about the purpose.
Inspired by: Proverbs, Dr. Mitch Stokes, Moses Bratrud, Ernest Hemingway, free-writing, J.K. Rowling, N.D Wilson, Kanaan Trotter