And so I write
It’s a hobby, you know.
Writing and saying things that interest me. It’s really no different than painting or golf or macramé. The stuff I write is fun to do. If people enjoy it, what a
blessing, but honestly, I enjoy the act of writing and the effort to make a
sentence - any sentence - as wonderful as some I have read.
I can read a professional writer’s stuff and know how far I am so from that level of prose that I almost want to just stop. But I continue because it’s fun. It's Masters week and I think we can compare it to golf quite fairly.
I’m a long way, an impossible way, from a 300-yard drive that the professional golfer has learned to deliver. And like the 300 yard drive that I seek, the sentence or paragraph that reaches a level of word play that makes the reader go back and absorb a second time is that far away. But it does not mean I do not enjoy the game. Hobbyists need not play at the professional level to enjoy their hobby.
But then vanity sneaks in.What an ego one must have to feel his or her ramblings will be of interest to others. Think about it. The Internet and developing blogosphere allow absolute dolts to type their feelings and pray someone, anyone, will enjoy and comment on same.
Does a knitter need an audience? Or a carpenter or gardener? In an innocent way, I think they do. The knitter wants someone to appreciate the effort, and the carpenter and gardener like their friends to see and enjoy their labors. For writers, it’s you guys. Sure, my spouse will read anything I force her to, but before there was Athens Patch, there was no one but the Countess and a few dear friends who ever saw my prose. I gotta stop and say it again; I cannot believe people read what I write, sometimes all the way to the end.
This week I read a months old review of a book of essays in a new favorite Southern magazine, Garden and Gun. So the reviewer was writing like Shakespeare about a book of essays he found remarkably well written. Geez. That’s like James Beard being jealous of Julia Child’s cooking, and I ‘m supposed to go and fix a dinner with that in my head. We hobbyists need to forget about the supreme talents, maybe take a page from their book at best and go out and enjoy what we do.
Hemingway wrote: “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is
a moveable feast.” Now I don’t exactly know what that means, but I know that I wish I could construct something as direct and memorable. Ernest’s 300 yard drive makes me want to swing harder. And Faulkner, the Southern Nobel Laureate said: “If I were reincarnated, I'd want to come back a buzzard. Nothing hates him or envies him or wants him or needs him. He is never bothered or in danger, and he can eat anything.” Now that’s a quote about a buzzard. But it is clear and pitch perfect and you know exactly what Ole Will meant. Hobby writers want to do that, but we cannot.
Or can we? All experienced fishermen have landed some trophy they did not deserve. And writers can stumble upon a sentence or even a page that is so fun to read that they want to rush back to camp and tell everyone how big it is… how
fine it is… how well written it is. How rare it is.
It can happen.
And so I write.