Less is More. Less is More? Less is More!

Less is more.

‘How to’ writing articles tell me this…

Authors, famous and not-so-famous, tell me this…

My own brain, for over four decades, tells me this…

When it comes to my writing, why does the thought of ‘less’ make me squirm?

Uncomfortable.  Shifting in my seat.  Skin prickling, bra tugging, head itching, socks off, socks on, then off again.  My thoughts, my characters, my brain… It all feels like they are bumping the insides of my head.  Wiggling.  Then thrashing.

‘Less’ becomes a straightjacket.  Thoughts are slamming against the sides of my head with teeth rattling force. The voices must be expressed…  Pure.  Raw.  Unfiltered.

I’ve spent my life taking the path of balance.  All Things In Moderation.  I’ll have a drink, but I’ve never been drunk.  I love rich food, but I am careful to make decent choices in the overall view.  I don’t smoke, but I don’t freak if others do.  I’ve listened to the societies rules about illegal drugs, so I haven’t indulged, but I’ll never ‘nark’.  I’ve tried to see the other side of every issue, be forgiving of other’s weaknesses, and to not to judge other people based on appearance.

I fail, often, but I always stumble my way back to this path of Balance.  Some will read this, and think how boring I must be.  Others may praise me for being a good girl.  I may be both, or nether.  Mostly, I am just trying to not be a Dick, to myself or others.  There are too many Dicks in the world, already.

My writing style, if I have one at this point, is not this well trod path of Balance.  It is not inside my comfort zone.  I am the shy housewife, suddenly pulled from the audience, dressed by a clown, shoved onto the tightrope, flailing… not falling…  Dancing.  Screaming in laughter.  Body moving freely.  Sparkling.

Profanity?  Less is More.  Bullshit!

Sexuality?  Less is More.  Fuck that!

Purple prose?  Less is more.  May the occult hand reach down from the starry heavens and smack you upside your clunky, wooden head!

I’m up on the tightrope and I’m not coming down.  I may be laughed at, ridiculed, or worse… ignored, but I’ll stay true to my writing.  It’s exciting to work without a net after so may years of playing it safe.  MORE IS MORE.

Or, maybe I can find a Balance between the two ideas.

***

On a personal note, The Editing Pit was deeper than I thought, forcing me to re-evaluate my every thought, trying to see if they could be redirected into acceptable forms.  Forms dictated by genre, taste, tradition, and modern society.  A deep enough pit that it swallowed every bit of my passion, leaving me struggling, clawing at the sides, unable to write, edit, or even blog for two weeks.

I did two things while in the pit–other than plastering a smile on my face and answering, “It’s going fine.”  I read for pleasure (a lot) and I took a step back to look at some things that have been nagging at me.  Disturbing things.  Political trends, social injustice, sexism, racism, human rights, etc.  It seems obvious that we are experiencing some major growing pains, as humans, and it’s not pretty.  I worried I would make it worse, since I touch on those things in my book, in a fictional way.

Then, it hit me.  Art, and artists, including writers, are the mirror to society.  Art shows us who we are.  Who we choose to be.  How many people have been changed by art?  By a poem?  By a book?

Some books change us, forever.  One of my first was Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land.  I can’t remember a lot about the story, read thirty-something years ago by a teenager, but I remember not having the same shaped brain afterward.  It was an intensely surreal experience, and I was hooked for life on reading.

Have you felt yourself being changed by art?  By a book?  How did it feel?

 

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