Friday, April 16, 2010

Yep, you are a writer!

The title of this blog post are the words a friend of mine included in an email. The full quote is:

This is how I know you are a writer. I work in the yard. One sentence. I worked in the yard this weekend. You work in the yard. Several paragraphs of the toils creating a visual of what you actually did that probably broke your back but created the result that ends up on facebook. Yep, you are a writer.

The above paragraph is a response to this:

We about killed ourselves with yardwork yesterday. We, or should I say "I" expanded the flower beds along the sidewalk leading up to the house. Then, Frank decided to take the evergreens in the pots by the front porch and plant them near the street, next to the sidewalk. So, between the two of us, we dug the holes and planted the trees. Did I mention we did all of this while waiting for 80 bags of mulch to arrive. Yes, 80. Then, we hauled 67 bags of mulch from the end of the driveway to the backyard and then spread out the mulch. Oh, wait, that leaves 13 bags of mulch still left. So, we then did some areas in the main, fenced in part of the backyard. Oh, did I mention that on Saturday I tilled my garden area by hand, moved some lilies, composted the garden, retilled, added fresh dirt, and then tilled it one last time - just me and a shovel. So, by the time we finished the last of the mulch . . . I hurt in the entirety of my body, from my head to my toes. I still hurt. But, my car needed washing, so, after a bit of rest, I washed the car then decided I had just enough energy to plant my tomatoes and basil. Yes, I'm daring Mother Nature to send a freeze our way. Yeah, it might happen. Then again, it might not. You just never know what the Fickle Finger of Fate has in store, do you???

I never really thought about the fact that, in emails, I go into a bit more detail than necessary. Yeah, I could have written five words: We worked in the yard. Those five words would have told whoever that Frank and I worked in the yard on Sunday. But, those five words wouldn't have told the whole story. They would have only given a bare, minimal glimpse of the full story, and . . . what the heck is the point of a bare minimal glimpse? I mean, I want the whole story, all the gory details, and what led up to happily ever after.

But, I digress . . . the thing is, I wrote the long paragraph instinctively. I told the story I needed to tell, using the words I needed to use because . . . well, I'm a writer. Go figure.

Question: do you do the same/similar thing(s) when telling people about your day, whether in an email or in a face-to-face or phone-to-phone conversation? Do you elaborate beyond five simple words? Do you paint a picture with your words - instinctively - because, you are a writer?


Claire Dawn said...

oh my gosh! i do! I look back at old emails and it's ridiculous. I once met a former president. That story was introduced with meeting the badn sugar ray on a plane. And was about 500 words long. All to say "I met George Bush."


Marybeth Poppins said...

Nice new layout :)

Bossy Betty said...

Oh yes and I pick out the smallest, most minute details!

Thanks for this post! It was fun to read!

Indigo said...

I'm always getting told I see things most don't. I think it's a writer's habit to notice details, and imagine plots forming out of the every day mundane.

Nice decriptive of yard work. I couldn't have left it at 5 words either. (Hugs)Indigo

Elana Johnson said...

Guilty!! (Notice I only used one word, and then I thought I better explain that one word...)

Scott said...

Claire Dawn – I don’t think we writers can help ourselves. It’s part of who we are!

Marybeth – thanks. See what happens when you take a 40 day sabbatical.

Bossy Betty – you’re welcome. I guess I picked out the small details as well.

Indigo – I think all writers see the world in a different way (in fact, I did a post about that). We look beyond the fa├žade of a house (so to speak) to the deep, dark crevices of the darkest basement and/or attic.

Elana – ROTFL!!!

Jemi Fraser said...

Great post! I do tend to elaborate quite a bit when I'm talking or explaining. I keep telling myself 'clear and concise' :)

Jen said...

Yes, I do think this is one thing that comes easily for me. I always want to give a description or a reason why, in talking and in writing. But then, if we are focused on Story, we usually want to share it, don't we?

Great food for thought!

Mary McDonald said...

Oh wow. I guess I'm guilty of being a writer too. lol.

Jan Rider Newman said...

My instinct is to do the same thing. Why just say you worked in the yard? But you know, when I try to tell the kind of story you did about yard work, nobody lets me finish! So, face-to-face, I say, "I worked in the yard all day." In emails, I give the whole enchilada version.