Monday, July 02, 2012

Writing Simple

I sat down to write another blog, then read this post by Elizabeth Boyce at Bluestocking Ball. As you can see, I left her a comment. Her message resonated with me.

She marveled at shells at the beach, the dolphins, a helicopter overhead. Most of us feel a kindred draw to water, but I think few of us see it for the magic it is.

How keen is your writer's eye?

Can you stand on a beach and get so caught up with the details of the sand, shells, birds, spray, and foam that you forget to walk? For fear of missing something right under your nose? Elizabeth spoke of wanting to be a marine biologist but the sciences didn't agree with her. I took many science classes, majoring in pre-veterinary medicine, zoology, then agronomy, hungry to learn about the details of my surroundings.

The world's structure fascinates me. I can't get enough of gardens, forests or wildlife, either. My fingers itch to stroke tree bark. Seriously, when I moved back to South Carolina from tree-barren Arizona, I wrapped my arms around a hickory and pressed my cheek to it, eyes shut, smelling, touching. 

Look at the picture above. Those are shells from Edisto Beach, South Carolina. I visit Edisto at least three times a year. Luckily a dear friend allows me to make her place my second home. I captured that pic in a moment of awe. Standing amidst shells everyone walked over, I was drawn by the colors, designs, and ages of the shells. So much so that I snapped photos  to remember that vivid sensation. While others took pics of gulls and waves, I wanted the detail, the tinyness, the basis of that huge beach - the part nobody sees.

The shells aren't grand, unusually shaped, or brilliantly colored. At least not individually. But put them together and they provide contrast and diversity and become beautiful.That's how we write. The careful placement of the simplest of words can often make the most profound statement.

1 comment:

Janet Hartman said...

If I don't see salt water every two to three weeks, I feel myself drying up. Fortunately, creeks, rivers, and the Atlantic are just minutes away from my house.

The rhythm of the ocean waves is restorative, but the beach is what makes each experience unique. On the same beach, shells and driftwood brought in by the tide vary each time. The rocky beaches in Maine are different from the boardwalk-rimmed beaches in NJ which are different from the wide beaches in NC that may be protected by marsh. Wildlife and plants vary, too. Something to think about when writing a beach scene.

There's much more to a beach than sand and sea. A writer who just gives me that is being lazy.