Thursday, December 30, 2010

Writing with Purpose

A story is a way to say something that can't be said any other way, and it takes every word in that story to say what the meaning is. You tell a story because a statement would be inadequate. ---Flannery O'Connor

I'll admit it. I've had a few literary crushes in my lifetime. However, my girl Flannery is probably pretty high up on the list. She's just really awesome, and if you've never read her, you probably should. Start with A Good Man Is Hard To Find.

I chose this quote because I've had a lot of time to think over the past few days, mainly due to a nasty bout of the stomach flu. (We're talking projectile-vomiting proportions). When I wasn't sleeping, I was revisiting some wonderful works of literature that were dear old friends during dark times. I re-read O'Connor's short story mentioned above, as well as The Great Gatsby, The Sunflower, and Of Mice and Men. I was reminded of what called me to these books over and over again-the authors' precise choice of words, melting together to form this amazing story that fulfilled many afternoons, car rides, and evenings of adolesence. These authors wrote with purpose, which is something that I sometimes feel I lack. Am I telling a story? Am I just jotting down thoughts? Does this word I chose belong here? Crap, this is all just chicken scratch.

I know I probably won't ever write something that is truly worth someone's time. However, I know I need to be able to teach my students how to write with purpose. I have all of these amazing examples of authors who were able to write with purpose and half the time I can't demonstrate myself what the purpose of my writing is. Guess I'll have to add it to my ever-growing to-do list.

1 comment:

  1. O'Connor is also one of my favorites!! Each time I read her short stories I find a different reading.

    By the way, your writing is great. "Jotting down thoughts" does tell a story -- yours! :)