“(The Ghost of sir Felix Finch whines, ‘but it’s been done a hundred times before!’–as if there could be anything not done a hundred thousand times between Aristophanes and Andrew Void-Webber! As if Art is the What, not the How!” (David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas, 357)
Have you ever read a book in all its brilliant and complex perfection and asked yourself, “who am I kidding to think I can write?”
I have. And I am reading one right now. It took me a while to get into Cloud Atlas but now that I am fully hooked I recognize the brilliance of this one writer. Mitchell acknowledges, as in the above quote, that most stories have been told before, and then proves that in the hands of a master storyteller every story can take on new meaning and told in a different way. Mitchell doesn’t use just one way, he masters the styles and traditions of many types of literature to tell a story unique, ancient and full of ominous predictions of a future that is not really that far from the realm of possibilities.
In other words, this book is full of meaning and tells a really good story.
As it has in the past, reading something like this makes me wonder who I think I am? What makes me think I have a story to tell that another writer couldn’t tell in a much more powerful way? What makes me think my use of language and words has any power or beauty compared to anyone else? What makes me think my ideas are worth reading?
The truth is, I don’t know anymore. I’ve been wanting to start a bigger project. Something to truly focus on. Something worth reading. Something that carries readers away into a world of thought and action, of joy and sorrow. And yet, I cannot begin . . .
Is it, perhaps, because I don’t really have any power over words? Or maybe I simply do not have a story to tell.
I read in the hopes of discovering my story. I write in the hopes of learning my story. I dream in the hopes of understanding my story. And yet the words escape me and I have nothing to say.
Do you ever get humbled by words?
Today’s Quote (I’ve decided to start incorporating daily quotes that help motivate or inspire, or simply reflect what I am thinking)
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity” —Gilda Radner