"All art is quite useless" -Oscar Wilde

"Don't romaticise your 'vocation.' You can either write good sentences or you can't. There is no 'writer's lifestyle.' All that matter is what you leave on the page." -Zadie Smith

"Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting, struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness" -George Orwell

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Years and Mortlach

This year I made a new years resolution, the first one in recent history. The plan is to improve my writing. I decided, as someone trying to be a journalist, it’s probably kind of a good idea.

I also decided that, as with everything else, it would require conscious effort. Much to my annoyance, I spent years in squash lessons, meticulously practising the mundane. It played off – I’m now a mediocre squash player. And, since I got older, and stopped lessons, my game has grown stagnant.

How do I intend to improve my writing? I think I’m just going to write, write, read, and write. Oh, and I bought a copy of Plotnik’s “Spunk & Bite.” Subtitled “A writer’s guide to bold, contemporary style,” the book encourages one to write forcefully, richly textured, and full of surprises. It centres on a sort of break-any-and-all-conventional-rules-if you-have-a-good-reason-for-doing-so mantra.

The problem lies in that I find it tough to write with bite when I consider the subject somewhat gummy. This is partially where this blog comes in – I’d like to write in a way that produces something that doesn’t really have anywhere else to go. Though to do so within reason: keep it professional. I could write emotionally charged rants about my ex-girlfriend, and how much she sucks, but, we both know, no one really wants to read that. If I cross that line, and this becomes a “dear diary” sort of thing – someone please intervene. Thanks. Posting a mess like that in a public place requires a certain degree of egoism – “people want to read about my life and care about my problems because I’m so interesting and articulate.” I digress…

Anyways, the real point of this post is to post a link to my Mortlach story. As a journalism class we all went to the small town of Mortlach, met some interesting people, raided some haunted houses, and crashed on a school gym floor. Overall, it was a great experience. The town was deliciously friendly and hospitable. I decided to post this story partially because it’s the first feature piece that I’ve written, but also because it’s one of the only things I’ve written that I haven’t felt an inexplicable urge to disown a week later.

In brief, it is about the diminishing importance, and subsequent disappearance of grain elevators and trains in rural Saskatchewan. I’ve always had a fascination with trains. They’re sweet.

-Noah out

1 comment:

  1. I was pleasantly surprised by your writing style, and what you had to say. Keep up the good work, and never stop improving. I'm confident you'll make a fine writer someday. I'm going to visit this as much as I can.