Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tree Spirit & Tips from the Tops

This morning I lay abed reading The Never Ending Story, a book Kerol got me for my birthday. It is a lovely fairytale and I'm also reading another book packed with all the best fairy tales that Gwen let me borrow. As many of you know, I really love fairy tales. I have tried writing them in the past and haven't given up yet.

So, I was lying there and the sun was shining in because we have no curtains - nobody could see in and we like rising with the light or in my case, waking with the light. Ron had brought me a coffee and life felt pretty sweet. Oh, I knew I had to get up soon - start making candy and cookies and pigs in a blanket for today is a baking day at the ranch, but not just yet....yes, I felt like a teenager lying there dreamily. And I happened to look out one of the windows - my favourite one as it happens, because it frames the beautiful maple trees that I love beyond all sensibility. I think, being solstice born, that I am a bit of a druid and definitely a lot of a tree spirit. And there I was! Or my reflection anyway - nestled in the trees. I went downstairs quick as a wink and got the camera and the man and he took pictures of my true self - floating in the trees. And here they are...

I hope you like them as much as I do!

Now for a tip from the tops!

Top: Virginia Wolfe
Tip: As for the mot juste, you are quite wrong. Style is a very simple matter; it is all rhythm. Once you get that, you can’t use the wrong words. But on the other hand here I am sitting after half the morning, crammed with ideas, and visions, and so on, and can’t dislodge them, for lack of the right rhythm. Now this is very profound, what rhythm is, and goes far deeper than words. A sight, an emotion, creates this wave in the mind, long before it makes words to fit it…

— Virginia Woolf, In a letter to Vita Sackville-West, 1926

How I use it: I know, I know - I given this one out before but really folks - it is the best one ever so I want to highlight it. It is remarkably tricky however. I just know it when it is working and my job in my final revising is not to ignore the voice that tells me one section that has missed it or even a word. Yes, even a word can throw it off. And then I have to hunker down and listen with the same intensity (while seeming profoundly uninterested) that I do to one of the teenagers in my life telling me something that I sense is important. Get it? I hope so. I think it is like many things in life - when you read your work out loud and you have it you'll know it. Anything that doesn't give you that same feeling has to go. It's that simple. Or that hard.


Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I've always felt like a tree spirit,too. I love those pictures!

And that quote is too delicious. You're quite right about reading aloud and being ruthless.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

It is as if you belong there!

Hart Johnson said...

Love those pictures, Jan! And rhythm (or rather cadence) is something that makes a big difference for me in writing. It is part of my bias against too many big words unless they are exactly the right words and it is one of my irritations that the word 'that' is so shunned (it's such a nice optional word to make things FLOW by either including or excluding, ne?)

Glynis said...

There IS a face in there! Amazing.