I was listening to NPR in the car the other day. Terry Gross was interviewing Richard Price the novelist and screenwriter. She asked him how he likes his new venture working with other writers for HBO's The Wire. He said he enjoyed it because he had other people to talk with now. Then he said, "You know, writing is so isolating. I mean, basically you sit there for 30 years rearranging 26 letters of the alphabet by yourself." I almost stopped the car to write that down. It was so simple yet profound.
Because that's what writers do, isn't it? They simply take the same old 26 letters and rearrange them again and again and again. The same 26 letters that make up a comforting child's nursery rhyme can also create a story of suspense and terror. Then, arranged a different way, those very same letters can create a world of uplifting joy and happiness.
I think writing today is an unappreciated art. Anyone can type out a story on a computer and using spellcheck create a technically correct piece. But it takes a real artist to weave those 26 letters into a story that sets a mood, paints a picture, fleshes out a character, and truly captures your attention.
So I say, "Thank You" to all those writers who've spent years in isolation arranging and rearranging those 26 letters into all the wonderful tales that I've enjoyed. You are truly artists.
p.s. I know I promised more needle felting today, but it's not quite ready, so we'll do that tomorrow.