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21 June 2017

What Is Good Writing

by Andrew

Good verbs make good writing. Everything revolves round the verb. You learn that from studying language—both that rule and the good verbs.

But besides, what is good writing? To everyone this is different. Good writing is what you like to read, whatever that is.

So maybe Schopenhauer you read in translation because you like good ideas. So good writing to you is writing that reveals good ideas. Or maybe you like being lost in a novel. So good writing to you tells a good story. And the best writing is what does these things best, tells some story or reveals some truth.

But, I don't know. This is writing—words and sentences and such. And that's all writers have are the words and sentences and such—the mechanics, the tools.

Maybe baby Vonnegut tells a mean story. But she writes like a child, him. But that is a Vonnegut, and if they are writing like a child, then surely they meant to write like a child. Because I have seen those Vonneguts write articulately too, to be sure.

I read Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight." Stephen King called her a child. But she got lucky, yes, that Stephanie Meyer. But she did paint that scenery beautifully enough I do think myself. Everything was all wet and green and smelling of pine after I finished reading. But yes, she got lucky, that Stephanie Meyer.

But so, there is good writing, and there is bad writing. And most writing is in-between probably. But what seperates it, good and bad writing? And am I even good?

Well, I got the mechanics of it, I do feel. And with that, the mechanics, the tools, I'm always improving, adding,—or subtracting, improving—or degressing, subtracting,—or adding, degressing—taking a part out here, changing there, something. But it's in motion regarldless, my writing. The machine is running—at least that.

I struggle however to put thoughts together coherently. To string one sentence after another is difficult for me. I fly-off everywhere—or I want to. But I am with practice, practice, practice becoming more focused. And I too am learning to be comfortable being incoherent, as I am.

And there's no way I could write complete fiction, an entire made-up story. I don't have it in me. This was the best thing that Henry Miller gave to me, you see. You can write books like that, he showed me. You don't have to write novels, complete fiction, made-up stories. You can just write really, like a conversation.

Anyway, good writing flows. Good writing is poetry, even as prose. It sings. Joyce sings. So does Sam Johnson, even as articulate as he is. It's a dance, writing. It's a song. It's a picture painted. Writing is art. And art is art. But not all writing is art. Right.

Art must be practiced. It must be perfected. It must be lived, art. It must be improved. And then it must degress only to be improved all the more. It's like waves on a beach, art. It's like the seasons. Art is nature—or, well, art is an attempt to immitate nature, always a cheap reproduction of it.

So I suppose that is what is good writing. What mimics nature as best as possible. And there are always degrees of this. Japanese steel versus Chinese steel for example—how Chinese anything almost is shit, really. So then, how does writing reflect nature?

Like waves on the beach writing is, my reply again. Some waves are big. Some are small. Some are loud. And some are soft. Sometimes they are evenly spaced, waves. Sometimes one falls onto another, and they crash together. But all is in harmony. All is how it's supposed to be.

Sometimes the water is dirty. The foam is dark. It stinks, the sea. And it's cold. But sometimes the water is warm. And the foam is as white as it should be. The water is clear and blue, and it smells tropical, like ripe fruit.

A south wind it seems makes the water warm and clean and good. But a north wind has done the same too. And even an east wind, I've seen it. It's unpredictable. There's no way to forecast a beautiful sea.

But on those days that the sea is beautiful, you had better have your ass on the beach. But on those days that it is a beautiful sea, there are always so few who indeed are on the beach, enjoying. It is maybe the middle of the week. And most are at work or at school. Or it is maybe the day after a very hot, sunny day—a day after where everyone was on the beach. And everyone now is at home, inside, sunburnt and tired from the day before—which wasn't even so beautiful, the day before, just hot.

And so with writing it is.


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