Friday, January 11, 2008

What secret are you keeping from yourself?

I'm always amazed at how certain pieces of writing (and other) advice can bounce right off me a hundred times, then all of a sudden they make sense. I suppose it's like cosmic rays; they're always bombarding us, just like advice--but every now and then because of how we're aligned in the universe, or something, one hits and sticks. (And there's where the cosmic ray analogy ends, because if one of those stuck it would be a disaster.) Anyway, here's the little nugget that hit me this week. It's from Melissa Pritchard, interviewed in Glimmer Train's publication Writers Ask:

[In writing "Revelations of Child Love"] I wanted to strike a certain nerve on the page, but when I tried to write a conventional story, I couldn't get to the emotionally dangerous point I needed to get to. I had to wait for the right voice--the right form--that could carry the charge and danger this story needed. [...] I go by the same advice I give my students: If you aren't sure what the danger point is after finishing a draft, ask what secret you are keeping from yourself.

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