Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Blogging and writing and sculpting and music

A couple of months ago, as I was aimlessly (but never mindlessly) following links through the blogosphere, I read a post or two about the death of Donald Murray at the end of last year. Mr. Murray, with whom I had not previously been acquainted, was evidently an influential teacher of writing and journalism, and also wrote a well-known and well-regarded column on aging for the Boston Globe. (Anyone who is more familiar with Mr. Murray will please cut me some slack for what is undoubtedly a neophyte's superficial comprehension.)

However, he sounded like someone who wrote things I would like to read about, so I put a couple of his books on reserve at the library. I am just about to finish the first, Writing to Deadline, most of which I read on a recent flight.

An aside. While sitting on the runway for an hour waiting for the flight to take off (one of those), my seatmate turned to me and stated "I am a Journalist". (It sounded like a capital "J" to me.) I responded, "I am not, but I am a blogger." (Definitely a small "b".) That led to an interesting discussion off and on through the flight about his job as a reporter for Radio Free Asia, and on the process of writing in general, much of which reinforced what I was reading. He didn't know much about blogging, so I was able to fill him in on amateur writing and the blogging community. A neat coincidence.

What I loved the most about the book were the many parallels between the processes of writing and of producing music. I would like to share a quote from p.46, in which Mr. Murray quotes the sculptor, Henry Moore:

The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your whole life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for your whole life. And the most important thing is - it must be something you cannot possibly do!

Oh, my 'cello. How sublime.

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