I once had a boss who would send my monthly financial statements marked up with red and green pens. Red was bad. Green was good. Having spent several days hacking, slashing and carpet bombing my manuscript, I’m pausing to give myself a little green ink. These are some of my favorite lines from the ol’ work in progress.
“My name is Finn, and I’m walking across America.”
“I did not want to start my day getting licked up by a porcupine.”
“Eventually, with an anorexic’s need, I would saw off the handle of my toothbrush.”
“My idea of a fight includes saying intentionally hurtful things, shit gets broken, and someone storms out of the house for a few days.”
“I had stared up at a lot of trees.”
“I moved in the smell of newly turned earth.”
“I had an ‘Oh shit! I’m about to be eviscerated by a bear’ moment.”
“I came to know rocks.”
They obviously lack context here, but they indicate the occasional moments when I think I combined the right words. The sentences are telling. I am obviously a fan of lean, spare prose. I have great respect for writers who can conjure long, lush sentences. I can’t. Instead, I whittle and chip and try to leave the minimum needed words.
It is a writer’s job to look out at the world with a critical, discerning eye. It is a writer’s job to glare harshly at the words they have wrought. Sometimes, it’s good to give a little green ink.
I’m Darren. I write.