I’ve pulled the link to Paths at this time, though the files are still on the server (for the moment, I’ll pull by end of April). I’m not happy with it, with the writing or the organization. The whole thing rather reminds me of a lemonade stand I tried once when I was a kid.
It was a useful exercise. I liked playing with the web page design, and it provided an excellent lesson in being honest with oneself.
I’ve added more essays/stories to Paths, including Bright Copper Pennies. If you liked Marbles you would probably like Pennies.
I’m finding that Paths: The Book of Colors is becoming a hodge podge of random entries, loosely linked on a common thread. Unfortunately, though, the thread is stretching to the point of invisibility. If one looks closely, one sees not one, not two, but three Books of Color all mixed together in a confusing mess of words.
There are the parables and fiction, such as the Mockingbird’s Wish and a Child’s Tale. These are mixed in with stories based on actual experiences, such as Marbles and Bright, Copper, Pennies. Alternating are the essays such as Reflections on Still Water and Held Captive. There’s even a poem of sorts with If the Sunset could Speak.
Regardles of their merit, or lack thereof, throwing all these different writings together can’t help but irritate the reader. There is no flow, no connection, not even a common method of writing between the lot. Basically, the colors, which should be distinct but not clashing, flow but not run, are blurring, becoming a muddy mess.
I could focus on the stories, and I have at least two more I want to add – The Inn at the Fork of the Road and My Moutain, Far and Near, but I’m not sure that’s the type of writing I want to do. I enjoy doing it, but I’m not sure that it’s the type of writing I want to do. Make sense?
I could focus on the stories loosely based on my experiences and others, but there are dark tales among the copper pennies and the marbles, and I’m not quite comfortable publishing these. However, it is just these stories that make the lighter stories worthwhile. They are the substance.
Then there’s the essays, and I do love writing essays. However, I was reminded yesterday when I started reading through the collection of Virginia Woolf essays I found online that this type of writing is the most difficult, requiring not only skill with words but also an unusual sense of perspective. You must be able to invoke feeling and images within your reader, but indirectly. You must be able to use sentiment without being maudlin. And you must be able to write passionately and compellingly, without dripping emotion over the nice clean page. The reader should be the one to clutch at their chest in exultation, not the author.
No worries about the one poem – that’s not my focus or strength or interest (as a writer), which should come as a relief to several poetry lovers in the crowd. I know just enough about poetry to know that it’s more than half sentences strung together with an occasional rhymed word. Brave wielding of ellipses does not a poet make.
Until I decide the direction Paths takes, I’ll continue to add my hodge podge of stories and essays and parables, each acting as placeholders for the real thing if nothing else. Someday I’ll decide what kind of writer I want to be when I grow up. I guess that’s the one constant in Paths –regardless of the style of writing and the popularity of the work and the reader reaction I may, or may not, receive, I will continue to write. Online, or off, I will continue to write.
But, it was easier just writing about cats, Tim Tams, and RDF.