Sunday, October 21, 2007
Lately, perhaps with my focus on the need for fall atmosphere, I've been thinking about atmosphere in writing. Sometimes I look at the writing of others and learn little lessons, even if those writers happen to be far younger than I.
I don't recall that my writing was particularly good when I was in grade school, although I know I had a fairly large vocabulary, and that I loved to read. I'm not sure why I'm always surprised when children write well, since I see examples all the time. The latest is this poem my son wrote in his third grade class--an acrostic.
Grouchy goblin sitting in a coffin, waiting for its prey;
Howling creatures coming for me.
Owls gliding in the dark night sky.
Slimy locusts creeping up my oozing leg.
Trees broken and dead--makes a great place
for a witch's bed.
I thought this was pretty neat, but I'm sure that third grade teachers the world over could tell me that nine-year-olds are terrific writers. In any case, I love the fact that their teacher, Mrs. Fogarty, obviously told them to use imagery, and this piece comes alive with it.
One of my favorite poems from childhood was Alfred Noyes' THE HIGHWAYMAN. One of the best lines described the sky during the highwayman's midnight ride: "The moon was a ghostly galleon, tossed upon stormy seas." I think of lines like that every time I see the power of visual and sensory imagery. Sometimes I need to be reminded to weave it into my own work. :)