I have been a little bit resentful, over the past few years, of the fact that I can’t draw. I have wished that I had been a visual artist instead of a writer. I think that, for people who are very dedicated to the work they’re doing, neither one is really easier. But… but. I am convinced that my finished product as an artist would come across much closer to what I’m trying to express. When I write, I often do not feel like readers understand the work. I say this in part because my very favorite flash fiction pieces are never anyone else’s favorite.
It gives me the impression that no one gets me (as a writer–let’s not to into no one getting me as a person). And how will any publisher or agent ever want to work with me if no one gets me?
That’s part of the purpose of editing and struggling to create the story you really want to tell. The reader can only do so much on their own. It is up to the writer to make it possible for the reader to “get” them.
I’m sure it’s the same, sometimes, for artists. But in a different way. I’m sure artists sometimes execute the picture just as they intended but do not really have any way to explain what it means. As a writer I can get my meanings across often just as I intended (or as close as I could possibly come, and of course sometimes the actual meaning is missed entirely), but I can’t convey the picture as I see it. I can describe a field dotted with trees under blue sky brushed with purple in the early dawn, but is my reader seeing the same field I envisioned? The most likely answer is no. They aren’t.
Imagery is very important in writing because it helps the reader understand and engage with the story and the world the writer has created. However, it’s also very hard. Chances are, no matter how precise your details are, readers will interpret them into various versions of the writer’s original image.
If I could draw or paint, the image, though processed differently by each viewer, would remain the same.
Thinking about it, this just seems like a control issue. So I’ll just say, “Lighten up. It’s no big deal.”
*** I was going to edit this, and then I didn’t feel like it, so here you go, totally raw writing.
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I have a book from UMass Amherst where they had artists create objects from Emily Dickinson’s poetry. The point is that words, like images are representative, and your stories create images in the minds of your readers. I definitely appreciate your work.