So I read more. It doesn’t help.
I read some Capote and feel conflicted.
I have long admired his ability. I’ve worked hard to understand it, what makes the work tick. I don’t understand exactly the way he sometimes so nails it, but he does. I only really admire writers that I have to work to understand, method-wise. I don’t like cellophane or rice paper. I like work made of sinew and flesh.
I have to work for Capote. I break it apart, sentence by sentence, to better grasp it. It moves me. I am not often moved, particularly not by work I’m so familiar with, having read his body of work before leaving secondary school. I am unmoving, a mountain.
And here I am, sifting. Is it the sentence structure? The careful adjectives? The placement? The pacing? His work, at its pinnacle, feels sincere. I am skeptical of sincerity.
That’s why I dig through the text. Surely there is a method behind this sweetness, in syntax or something. A code to crack for believable, evocative fiction. Writing isn’t magic; magic is a trick. Where’s he pulling that rabbit from?
Then, the conflict, all inside this head of mine, a question mark.I talk to my partner about my (as of today, temporary) worst fear: that I couldn’t write something sweet if I tried. I don’t think I have it in me. He said not to be silly, of course I do. My work isn’t like that, I think to myself.
My mood doesn’t improve. I want my brain to surrender the red pen, even as I am glad for it. I make myself do something, clean out a closet, go for a walk, anything. I am lion pacing in a cage now, and it is disconcerting. And ridiculous.