I’ve been tackling a book: From Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik. The author is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, and his award winning work is eloquent to say the least. The memoir of his years living in Paris is explorative; he dives into the country’s culture and appropriately weaves in and compares nuggets of life in the United States.
The book is composed of anecdote-filled chapters. Each section is precisely written. The topics are dense, details are zeroed-in on; it is a slow read, but not in the sense the text is difficult. There are a few words here and there I’ve enjoyed looking up in the dictionary (for the sake of retention). But the chapters are bouquets filled with vibrant flowers. The books as vases make for mantle and front window-worthy aesthetics.
The paragraph is an entire story in itself. The brevity is beautiful and works well due to Gopnik’s tact. The sentences are perfectly designed in his final product. This story itself has the ability to be a chapter on its own and to go on for pages, but the half-page excerpt is best as it is.
The editing process at the end of the day is difficult. Although, I don’t know how Gopnik feels toward editing, I do know: Practice, read, practice some more, read more and continue to practice. Self editing is a discipline I force myself to choke down.
Writing is hard. I feel it’s even more difficult for those who do and want to write.
Often I need to find a balance between too much and too little to come up with something remotely close to the example above. What makes writing (about life) even more difficult is that life is already incredibly detailed. Those who are not looking at life may not see the details, but the scrutinizers see too much detail. There are too many inspirational gifts to carry in ones arms, but luckily we have a head.
(Life nitpickers don’t have to be in the writing profession either. I don’t mean to exclude anyone.)
And yet, what is taken from the experience is critical. I personally learn a lot more about myself during the process: How I react to things, what invokes happiness, what annoys me, how to turn a positive from a negative reaction, etc. How can I edit what’s not on paper to make life better, more interesting?
Yes, this is something I definitely need to work on. Often my writing sucks. It does. When looking back at previous entries of long ago — yes, the evolution of my progress is evident, and it’s for the better — compared to now: My writing sucks more.
Whether sitting on a park bench or in a booth of a restaurant, an infinite number of things are taking place in that environment. Watching a date pan out from arrival to departure, and leaving the conclusion open-ended. Your own falling in love, albeit momentary or forever. The way a squirrel gathers acorns, and the method red tail hawk swoops down and grabs the busy squirrel. The process of cooking a meal.
Each moment is a short story in itself, and I desire to find and transcribe them. This was the sole purpose of this blog — a broken record, yes, and someday I’ll convince myself — but many times I stray.
The process is meditative. I read once: People should (try to) be able to tune out the busiest of surroundings to meditate, and at the same time take all the action (or as much of it as possible) in. Credit will be given to Headspace.
Attention to detail makes life more beautiful. There is a gained understanding.