Old Moon

Sunday, September 14, 2008

How much to dare?

Having recently been asked to expand on a couple of short essays, one of which is a partial rumination on the writing life (if not the business), I think a word or two might be suitable for this page.

It's difficult for me, (schooled as I've been for over 20 years to cut out unnecessary words, keep even a fairly complex short story to 2,000 words, "only the facts, ma'am"), not to go on after I think I've made a point--it's proving to be a challenge to try to exhaust a subject. Even in the days of 30-page assignments in college I used to have trouble padding. In this case, of course, what I'm being asked to do is to think deeper and longer to develop a premise. I realize I'm going to have to go back to the experts. St. Exupery made a whole book out of ideas generated by night flying, and then went on to a perfect children's book, both still in print over 60 years after their publication.

Even though the relative freedom of the "personal essay" gives one a sense that almost anything goes, there remains the question of how much will be of interest to an outsider. I mean by that, someone who is outside the writer's personal circle of acquaintance. It remains to be seen, I guess.

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