Each Word is an Investment

Thought for my writing day:

“Every medium has its limitations, and the central limitation of writing is that readers can only apprehend one word at a time, in order. Because of this, we are denied the grand simultaneities permitted to other arts. A symphonic chord, with its dimensions of harmony and tone color and dynamics and duration, can be heard all at once; a landscape, with its dimensions of form and color and scale, can be seen in an instant. But we have to talk a world into being. Ours is a spare art, an art of losses, and even our grand monuments are built one brick at a time.” (Elizabeth Bishop)

To torture the metaphor, too many bricks make for an ugly building. (Memo to self: Cut! Cut!) Too little mortar means the whole structure collapses. (Memo to self: You know what’s going on in the story. Let the reader in on the secret.)

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