Friday, August 19, 2016

Painting With Words
Fun With Quotes

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your Best Bud. But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

Wow, I can’t believe it. I actually found it pretty easy to decide on the quotes this week. And they even sort of kind of go together. ;-)

I like this one from Jamie so much, I think I might write it out for my cork board:

The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.
~Vladimir Nabakov

Have you ever stared at a blank page, or a blank screen, and you know the words are there, it’s just a matter of bringing them to light? This is what makes us writers, because we can make the words visible. We can see them in our minds, hear them in our ears, and then we begin to write and the words appear like magic.

For Vladimir Nabakov, this vision came slowly. He would begin with notes on index cards, which were then copied and expanded and turned into a novel. It was in this way that he made the ink visible for his most famous work Lolita.

My quote of the week also deals with making the words visible, but in a different manner. And I swear I didn’t pick it because it was the shortest quote I sent Jamie last week:

A story isn't a charcoal sketch, where every stroke lies on the surface to be seen. It's an oil painting, filled with layers that the author must uncover so carefully to show its beauty.
― Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

I have an artist friend and I’ve often said that we both create pictures only she uses pigment to paint with and I use words. When you think about it, writing is very similar to painting. You start with the idea, a vague picture in your mind of the finished product. When you begin the actual work, you might start with an outline, like a sketch that becomes the bones of a painting.

Finally you begin to add the layers of detail. You may use the broad strokes of long sentences, or the stippling effect of short. Probably a combination of both. If something’s not working, you delete it or cut it out, just like you’d use a pallet knife to scrape away the paint that’s not working on the canvas.

Writing and painting require an emotional investment by the artist. Both a story and a painting need something to be happening in it - even a vignette or a still life is telling you something. They need to touch the audience on an emotional level. And while it’s said that a picture can paint a thousand words, it’s also true that a thousand words can paint a picture.

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