Yesterday’s post on the “right to remain silent” and the Fifth Amendment right not to be “compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against [yourself]” may have strayed a little too far into the weeds of legal jargon. In this blog I want sometimes to entertain; sometimes to explain; sometimes to inform, but never to bore. That latter desire is one reason I don’t plan to write often about writing.
Other writers who blog seem focused on explaining their own creative processes. They expose themselves to several risks: boring their readers; providing too much information (how exactly, is sausage made, again?), and worst of all, losing it. Losing it in the sense that Ernest Hemingway meant it: when you talk about it, you lose it (and if you think this is a mere abstraction, take a look at Tiger Woods’ tournament record before and after he wrote How I Play Golf.). It’s a recurring theme in Hemingway. To explain an experience is to lose its essence and maybe to lose the way the experience polishes the soul. For example, in “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, the hunting guide says: “Doesn’t do to talk too much about all this. Talk the whole thing away. No pleasure in anything if you mouth it up too much.”
One blogger wrote that he started blogging because he wanted his nonfiction voice and his creative voice to merge. I’m not sure why a writer would want to do that; maybe he doesn’t plan ever to write fiction in third person or write from the perspective of a female character or from the perspective of an “idiot,” as William Faulkner did in The Sound and the Fury.
Different strokes, I guess. Hemingway might say that if you’re thinking too much about your narrative voice, you might lose it. Sort of like what happens when a golfer thinks too much about his swing.