Charlotte has asked for a list of five of my writing strengths. So, here are my answers. (While I was gone, I was asked other questions, including some by Eoin Purcell, and I have answered those too. Who knows, some day I might even answer all those podlily questions I solicited from you a while back. It is an answering kind of Sunday.)
(1) I have never seen two heterogeneous things and not wondered, What would happen if I banged those together, really hard? Good writing happens when you put together things that don’t belong together. Not everyone agrees with this idea, by the way, and it is also true that bad writing comes out of this banging together of things that don’t go together. I know — I have produced a lot of that.
(2) I stopped writing fiction many times, when I was much younger, discouraged by my lack of genuis, by how hard it was to fit into my life. I don’t have time to give up anymore. I guess that would mean that I am persistent and I don’t have writer’s block.
(3) After I think about what I want to say, and do a lot of editing, my writing is clear. Clarity matters in all kinds of places: in my work as a lawyer, in my fiction, and when I leave notes for people to tell them what to do.
(4) I like words and I know a heck of a lot of them. (The other day, William’s teacher told me that children who read an hour a day acquire more than FOUR MILLION words a year. That must slow down, don’t you think? Still, who knew there were that many words to acquire?) I just wish I could get some of those words to surface on the tip of my tongue (or my fingers) at the precise moment when I most need them and not have them come to me three days later, when I’m making brownies and don’t have a pen handy.
(5) I love stories. I love reading them, I love producing them. I love writing. That is my biggest strength: love.
And what, dear reader, are your 5 (or twelve, or two) writing strengths? Also, what is it I don’t know about you? Having answered these questions, I find I am very interested in YOUR answers, knowing my own quite well already.