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The Tragedy Of Literary Experience

In the movie, You've Got Mail,  Meg Ryan's character says a line that has stuck with me, "So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around?"

This is the best way I know to describe my love affair with the written word. I've spent innumerable moments immersed in the romantic disasters of an Austin novel or fueling my righteous indignation with Chomsky's theories on linguistics in politics.

However, it is more then the plot or the platform that attracts me. The placement of words on the page often captures me as much as the story itself. Why did the author choose to use "beautiful" instead of "pretty" and how does that affect the character's creation in my mind can keep me guessing as long as the next sequence in the plot.

I've read over 1200 books, since I learned to read at 4, that works out to an average of around 55 books per year which is about one per week and I never tire of them. I get goose bumps just thinking about all the possibilities I've still have to experience. 

celticscribe celticscribe 26-30, F 2 Responses Oct 19, 2009

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So I bought a nook...forget about the placement of the word on a page. Hell, there aren't even pages any more or indications of narration breaks normally indicated by space and often a small line. I love books the best but I have found the Ereader experience, while inferior, is often very convenient.

"So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around?" <br />
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I think that line is fine as it is and that your own experience explains it nicely. Her character (Katherine Kelly) loves books and finds that things she experiences in real life remind her of books she has loved. For her, life is an index to peronal treasured memories.<br />
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I also agree with your views on the placement of words on the page and the choice of words used. Writing is a craft, a highly disciplined exercise in self-auditing. It is sitting back to probe the essence of what needs to be said and choosing the precise words that say it.<br />
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Somebody once said that the Bible is the perfect example of the writer's craft. 'Not one word in it is superfluous and each word is perfect in its intended meaning'.<br />
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This is the way good writing should be. I constantly review my own work until I'm confident that it carries no unnecessary baggage and that each word that needs to convey a specific sentiment or reveal an issue to carry the plot forward is the correct word.<br />
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What a rush!