Childlike Writing

“It is a paradox of creativity that the very way to move beyond the conventional stage [of writing] is not to try harder, but to take a seeming step backward: to reawaken and cultivate in ourselves some of the ways we had of perceiving and expressing when we were children.”
~Gabrielle Lusser Rico~

When I went home last November my sister gave me a stack of reports and stories I had written in grammar school. This was funny stuff but what I enjoyed most of all was something they had that is now missing in my writing. This little spark of childhood innocence that delights in writing because they can. Now my inner editor seems to kick in much too early, there are rules to be followed, and form, and plot and all of those technical terms. There is work to be done. In poetry, maybe because I’m such a beginner and I don’t know all of the rules there is less censorship, I write pretty much what I feel. I look for the details.
One book that addresses this is Clive Matson’s Let the Crazy Child Write! I want to write like a crazy child, play with words and language to find that childlike voice if only for fun. In the first chapter Mr. Matson discusses image detail and quotes Eudora Welty

What is there, then, about place that is transferable to the pages of a novel? The best things the explicit things: physical texture. [Stories]…need the warm hard earth underfoot, the light and lift of air, the stir and play of mood, the softening bath of atmosphere that give the likeness-to-life…

Mr. Matson goes on to say how by using image detail you can fill in a scene. Find these images to write about by letting your crazy child explore.
Today,look for the small parts of an image that will stick in your readers mind. Go deeper than you usually do, write without censorship, write as if you’re still a child fascinated with the bits and pieces of everyday life. Now get back to work!
The Writing Nag

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