Raw Literature: Writing is Water

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

March 7, 2017

Essay by Kerry E. B. Black, esteemed Friend of Rough Writers.

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To write is simple, some say. Every literate person holds the capability of putting pen to paper or fingers to keys to produce the next great novel. However, words are like water. They skip about. Some hold multiple meanings, while others change throughout time. The human experience finds definition in capturing triumphs and struggle, and although times change, humanity rarely does. Writing documents is the finest and the worst about society. It focuses attention, and in so doing raises awareness and conscience.

Writing is producing word after word to create complete thoughts and convey images. Like Alice chasing an elusive albino hare in a waist coat down a rabbit hole, writers pursue an ideal. Beautiful prose elevates a message. When the words flow onto the page in gorgeous, heart-catching, mind-expanding eddies, a special magic ensues. Yet words, like water, need containers, structures designed to hold them. Otherwise, they slip away as quickly as we grasp. Thus, a good writer hones craft and sharpens skills. Through such pursuits, writers progress from journeymen to masters, but the pursuit of perfection never ends.

A good writer reads. Through reading, writers identify what is beautiful in others’ works. A transcendent passage causes a reader to pause and reflect on the majesty of language and thought. Thus, the words become art.

Within its author, a work of writing fulfills an inner longing which the author hopes will resonate with readers – or at the least, A reader. This deeply personal pursuit of comprehending and interpreting the human experience at once seizes and eludes those who try to capture even a moment let alone a story. The proverbial Muse uses the very hand that beckons to in turn flip off her captives. To survive, though, a writer must write. To create is as necessary as food and, indeed, water.

So, a writer struggles, be it with capturing slippery words or difficult-to-define thoughts. Like many artists, a writer’s exploration begins as an internal investigation. It culminates in an understanding of the universality of humanity. It celebrates the unique while understanding the common bonds. A writer’s work finds definition in its fluid interpretation of mankind, all while doubting the presentation and the presenter.

Although many say writing is easy, to pour one’s impressions upon a page and allow others to analyze the results is anything but easy. Writing requires bravery. It demands honesty, and to be done well, it needs schooling and an understanding of what makes good writing art.

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Kerry E.B. Black hails from a land of steel and bridges where three rivers meet as a glacial point. With her spouse and four of her five children, she lives in a little swamp along one of the rivers. She writes daily, and although she’s completed three novels, to date her only publishing creds include short stories and drabbles. Please follow at Facebook, Allusionary Assembly — Writings of Kerry E.B. Black, Amazon, and Twitter.

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Raw Literature is an ongoing conversation about those first works we create as writers, as literary artists. Guest Authors share personal insights on their craft, its process, the experience of creating raw literature and what they do with it. Carrot Ranch is a dynamic literary community that creates raw literature weekly in the form of flash fiction (99 word stories). If you have an essay idea, pitch to Charli Mills, Lead Buckaroo, at wordsforpeople@gmail.com.

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16 Comments

  1. Sarah Brentyn

    Love the water analogy, Kerry. Words are slippery, flowing, and need containers and structure. Great essay. (And adore the Alice reference. ???? We chase words down the rabbit hole for sure!)

  2. Charli Mills

    Water-words are going to resonate with many. I like how you use this analogy to capture both the flow of creativity, and the container of craft. It makes me think how well this idea applies to different approaches to writing — some constructing the container first, and others diving into the water before knowing how to contain it. Thank you for this essay!

  3. LucciaGray

    to pour one’s impressions upon a page and allow others to analyze the results is anything but easy. Absolutely agree with this, to pour thoughts is easy but to make them available to others is the hardest thing a sensitive writer can do.

    • Charli Mills

      That does capture the difficulty of writing. The act of communicating one’s stories or ideas so that others understand is hard.

  4. Annecdotist

    I love this, Kerry, so well written and evocative. I love the analogy of water, the rabbit hole and the sense of yearning we pour into our writing. I can’t do better to reflect its impact on me than to quote your own words back to you:

    A good writer reads. Through reading, writers identify what is beautiful in others’ works. A transcendent passage causes a reader to pause and reflect on the majesty of language and thought. Thus, the words become art.

    Well done.

    • Charli Mills

      That quote stood out to me as well.

  5. Kate

    There is a quote by L.Tzu “Water is fluid, soft and yielding. But water will not wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is strong is soft.” Kerry, your analogy of words being like water is a strong message expressed eloquently in a piece that flowed, just like a river through the trees. The quote mentioned by Anne stood out for me, as well as, “The human experience finds definition in capturing triumphs and struggle, and although times change, humanity rarely does.”

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, that L. Tzu quote is fitting and expands the idea of how we write. The soft touch to a sentence can be what makes it strong.

  6. Norah

    What a lovely article, with many affirming comment with which I agree, Kerry. Well done. Thank you for pouring your words out and sharing them with us. It’s a bottomless jug with lots to go around.
    This is what springs out at me: “a writer must write. To create is as necessary as food and, indeed, water.” It is, the need flows through us, in its our veins, we can’t shake it out. It will find a way. I also agree with the need for bravery and honesty, and am grateful that Charli provides us with a platform here on which to practice our craft without feeling too much fear. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Kerry.

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Norah! I hope we can get wet at Carrot Ranch and let the flow grow. 🙂

      • Norah

        I won’t put a dampener on that! 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Ha, ha! No damper on the flow!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Raw Literature: Spring Review #3 « Carrot Ranch Communications - […] E. B. Black refreshes us with a water analogy that resonates with writers. In her essay, “Writing is Water,”…
  2. Platform: Authenticity Builds Credibility « Carrot Ranch Communications - […] article. Someone responded to my ranch email, offering to write an article like the brilliant Writing is Water essay…

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