02 August 2016
Thoughts Are Speaking
Her thoughts were speaking with her: speaking pleasantly, as it seemed, for she smiled as she listened.
- Charlotte Brontë
I love this line I recently read in the lesser known Charlotte Brontë novel, Shirley. I smiled when I read that line, because that is me. My thoughts are speaking, which is how I come to write down so many thoughts in my journal, and must continue to do so every day. Many people do wonder at my need to write so often, and why. Perhaps I can shed some light on my thoughts behind the thoughts.
We all have thoughts, musings, and ponderings, but it is a matter of - do we listen to them? Or do we drown them out with other distractions?
When I read really good books of literature, essays, or even correspondence in the form of letters from the days of C.S Lewis, for example, I am impressed and inspired by the good organization of thoughts, the use of vocabulary, the elegance of sentence structure, and the choicest methods of portraying points on subjects. Some modern day writings lack imagination (in general) and even the proper use of grammar! There are exceptions, of course. I could name many modern authors that are wonderful.
I come back from that tangent to say that all of that reading of other good works inspires me to be a better writer. My reading is almost a way of learning to be more articulate, elegant, thoughtful, and resourceful when it comes to the words I select. That is why I generally cringe at the overuse of heavy slang or uses of modern syntax with the younger generation today.
We live in a modern age of innovation, so I am certainly not against new words or alternate uses of words; that happens as a result of changing society and times and shows the way the world is changing and our language with it, but I am an old soul, and I value that which is thought-provoking and has stood the test of time. My love of writing grows the more I read, and the more I read the more I admire and wish to engage in the history of that time through story.
I do not seek to mimic the writers of the 16th - 19th centuries, for they stand on their own and I admire them for they cannot be reproduced, but rather to explore my own voice of writing with a nod to those great writers before me. There is a reason we are still reading John Keats' poetry, Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poetry, George MacDonald's strange tales of fantasy, and the imaginative sub-created stories of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. This kind of creative writing speaks to generations. Through their ability with words that capture our attention, we can be left with thoughts and insights that we had not considered.
The more I write, the more thoughtful I become about organizing my thoughts and selecting words to portray my ideas precisely (hopefully!). This is why I need to write (I must write!) everyday. It is practice. I cannot expect to be a better writer if I do not challenge and engage those creative aspects of my mind by writing furiously with my pen.