Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's a summer of uncertainty. There is always a calm before the storm, or so I've been told. But I never really bought it, if only because I've never seen a storm materialize without a cloud.

Some of my friends and mentors are meat and potato writers. They don't like to paint pictures with their words; they prefer to get the facts and get it done without thinking of their space as some kind of canvas.

They often are better than me. I will continue to try to be as good as they are, even if my style is different.

I was never much for a painter; drawing a straight line has proven to be a giant challenge for me. So perhaps I can be forgiven if I choose to view my writing style as a kind of production. When I'm on my game, I want my stories to answer just one question: why?

To me, it's the most important question not only in a story, but in life. Anyone can tell you what, most can tell you how. If my stories are good, they try to answer the why.

Why did the coach call the play? Why did he squeeze? Why did the running back break inside.

Why does an athlete have a phrase written on his eye black? Why does a player spell something out in the error after making a tackle.

You can find the results, you can find the play anywhere. I want to tell you why it happened. I'd like to think that information isn't available all the time, even to someone who watched every play from the stands.

If I don't at least pose the "why" question, I'm not doing my job.

And that's why I started writing in my early 20s and have now continued into my 30s.

Maybe there's a picture there. When I ask the write question, I am only trying to paint it.

So why did I write this?

If I'm looking for answers, sometimes it's best to write out your thoughts. Then the answer comes to you. It's all because you asked the right question.



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