Saturday, November 9, 2013

What Makes Magic?

Every day I wake up and prowl the Internet for stuff to read. I check Facebook and a couple of my favorite blogs, and meander in the by-lanes they send me to, picking and choosing what to read. Some days, I am overwhelmed by feelings I just can't put a finger on. Those days I read a lot of poetry, hungering for one that will articulate what I can't. On other days, when I am not feeling too good about things, I long for quick entertainment. Then I look for celebrity trivia and other nonsense. Sometimes I feel like being surprised and awed and fired up. Then I read science stuff. Sometimes, I read up on current issues that my friends seem to be fired about.

I read everything I start to its very end, however bored I may be, because as a novice writer myself, I know that sometimes gems are hidden in the depths. But gems are rare. Mostly, I come out untouched, unscathed, even by a well-written and well-thought through piece.

But sometimes, to my utter delight, it's different. I come out a little wide-eyed, or with a flutter in my heart. Some poems, some articles have the power to do that to me. Lately, I have been wondering why that happens. What makes magic?

So this is what I have figured. First, of course, content matters. It has to be about something that appeals to me, stuff I am interested in. And second, of course again, it has to be well written. Language mastery is essential. But the one thing that is common in all such powerful writings that move me is honesty. Above all. Not cleverness. But honesty.

Being honest in writing is a hard thing to describe. Honesty doesn't mean secrets bared. Even the most factual unemotional articles and poems can be honest. Honesty in writing, IMO, is about being faithful to the intent of what you are writing. And it's a tricky thing because for a piece to be honest, every word, every sentence, has to be honest. A singular intent throughout.

When I am writing, I constantly check for signs of dishonesty, because it creeps in if you are not careful. When writing, I am swayed by many things- how will people reading what I write react to it, what will they think of me, do I sound cool, does it make me look smart etc. I am also distracted by some phrases- I just want to use them because I like them or because they sound cool. These and others like these make what I write dishonest. I make a lot of effort to weed out this stuff after I am done writing, using the microscope of intent. And almost always, it makes me feel better about what I have written.

Here's to reading more honest stuff, stuff that sets my heart aflutter and makes my eyes go wide. Here's also to writing more honest stuff, setting somebody else's heart aflutter. Here's to making magic. 

1 comment:

  1. Ok here is my honest admission- nothing feels better than to be read by you, and no comment as precious as yours. Thanks sweet heart.