Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Reading writing ... equals living - how what you read can affect what you write.

Right now I'm reading Carl Hiaasen's Nature Girl and recently finished Juno Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Also in the past year, I have read a lot from Elizabeth Benedict, who analyzes and fully understands the depths of her characters. The point of all this is that in the last two days of writing I feel my style being freed up and am more willing to take risks with my writing style, which is also fun. When I read Diaz, I noted how sometimes I had been amazed at certain turns of speech he used because I had used the same exact turn of words in dialogues. Coincidence or perhaps observational skills. Some of his language was very flavorful. In thinking more about that I realized that there are many are euphemisms and dialectical familiarities specific to people who have lived in the Heights or maybe I could spread that to include the whole of the northeast.
These thoughts and feelings brought me a step further in my novel writing. On around page 90 of my novel I started to cut loose more. Another thing I've begun to do, is to let some rhymes slip into my character's speech only when when they appear there on my tongue. Diaz inspired me to explore my own style more.
I have great respect for poets who write in form although mostly I tend not to. That said, I have pantoums and sestinas as well as quadrants, sonnets, lists & several others. The same with rhyme, I respect all poets who rhyme. I say what I mean to say if I rhyme or not in the spheres of time. DX always teases me and says I rhyme all the time when I speak so I don't have to rhyme in my poetry. He's prejudiced since he loves my poetry.
I have always read a great deal my entire life and still do. Reading helps make us good writers. On occasion I like to imitate someone I like. Early on in this blog I have an imitation writing posted of Marguerite Duras. Check it. I also recently friended Marilyn Nelson (on FB) whose work I greatly admire. I actually wrote a poem imitating her style in a class in my Masters writing program. Maybe I'll post it & maybe not. I'll think about it.


  1. Yes, other writers are our true teachers. They teach us so much--especially that we are freer than we think.

  2. I just added you to my blogroll. :)