The pond is cool and hushed this Saturday morning as a thick hazy sky mutes the light and shields us from the usual bright shafts of morning sun. Birds and trees hardly move, as if something were about to happen.
I was thinking about the letter Chris Ellington wrote to the Courier-Record (posted here Friday), and his playful dig at my needing some “outer direction.” I remember well my struggle to fit into the externally directed conventions of newspaper writing while I was at the Courier from 1986 to 1994; each week as I unfolded my features stories—starting with a seed and nourishing it until it flowered—I then had to cut and strip, squeeze and compress, my beautiful flower into a “newspaper story.” If I got a “nothing wrong with that,” from my editor, I knew I had gotten a passing grade for that week.
And this was a good and needed discipline for me because my unbounded subjectivity needed someone to put his foot on my neck and hold me to the ground, rubbing my face in it until I got the smell of the earth and the taste of the grass.
Words need wings and want to soar with the spirit, but words also need the ground, and like birds must walk around a bit and appreciate the existence upon which all of us stand.
My goal, now that I am freed from the “editor,” is to find that thin point of balance between the outer and the inner, where words are allowed to fly but always with a hand reaching down to take the reader along for the ride.
Posted under General Observations
This post was written by ed on June 30, 2007