Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What Moves You?

"I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me".
- Anna Quindlen

Admittedly I’ve never been an avid reader. I haven’t cracked the cover on War and Peace, Ulysses or Crime and Punishment. I can’t even recount the story of Moby Dick with any great authority, although I believe there’s a whale in there somewhere. (Okay so maybe that’s stretching things a bit).

I have read standard fare like Death of a Salesman, A Tale of Two Cities and To Kill a Mockingbird, but that was in high school as part of the curriculum. To tell you the truth I rarely finished any book I was given for assignment (not something of which I’m proud, although I always seemed to somehow complete my book reviews and pass with good grades).

This year things changed. My site began in March with a whisper, as is usually the case, and I in earnest began taking an interest in what others had to say. Today I can honestly state that I’ve willingly read more in the past nine months than in any other period of my life.

I hadn’t given this much thought before. But I realized a few days ago that the reason for my interest in others is in the opportunity they afford to see the world through different eyes. That chance to share in part of someone’s life, to be let in and communicate my own experiences in return has always meant a lot to me. I’ve read of births, deaths, marriage, divorce, joy and loss. Life as it happens, often virtually in real-time.

 I’ve always held appreciation for anyone willing to express themselves honestly; whether or not I agree with what they have to say is incidental.  Not everyone is comfortable sharing such personal experiences, and there will always be those who are amazed at how much others are willing to share of themselves. As for myself I've been a bit surprised at how far inside I’ve been willing to reach and put what I pull out down on paper. As I’m sure most of you would agree it’s a risk putting yourself out there. But with this risk can come great reward, for writer and reader alike.

Increasingly I’ve found myself revisiting my passion for language. The experience of creating my site and following others has been electrifying because it’s sparked my interest in writing again. It echoes the exhilaration I felt in my English Lit and Creative Writing classes which I enjoyed immensely, even though I was often less than inspired by the selection of works we were given to study. I always likened Mrs. Murphy, my thirteenth grade Creative Writing teacher, to Robin Williams' character John Keating in Dead Poets Society. She allowed us to let our minds fly untethered and espoused original thought (through her encouragement I was prompted to express some of that original thought onstage in the form of stand-up comedy).

So how does all this tie in with the title of the post? Well, every once in a great while I stumble upon someone with whose writing I immediately connect. I mean really connect. What draws me to a writer? The list is fairly long but most frequently it's a sheer unquestioning joy for life, expressed through words that are strikingly beautiful in their eloquence.  This moves me every time.

As a result of this recently rekindled passion I’ve found myself falling in love with the writing of a few people on these pages, not by the way to be confused with falling in love with the authors themselves (this list includes both men and women).  I've read passages that have left me inspired, in awe, almost breathless.

I’m wondering how many of you feel this way. Judging by the quality of work I’ve seen on some sites I think it’s safe to say that many of us are affected by language, but to what extent? Do you have an affair with language and literature?

What moves you?


  1. Barry, I didn't know that you did stand-up comedy. That's one more thing to add in my "how well do you know Barry" list.

    I am not a writer. I admire people who can write really well... and not just write well, someone who can keep me interested in what they have to say. And you Barry is one of them.

    I know my blog is not the type of blog you prefer to visit but I really appreciate you dropping by and checking on my posts no matter how shallow they are.

  2. *And you Barry is one of them.* sorry for the wrong grammar. Hahaha! I meant to say *you are one of them*.

  3. I started to write my blog on February. The first aim was to rid off all the negative feeling I had inside. I've always had a keen on writing but I've never "published" my thoughts... this year had changed my point of view. I have met so many wonderful bloggers, ppl who have become my friends. I love blogs fulfilled with inspirations, joy and happiness!

    I need to admit that at the beginning I was a little bit afraid of writing this blog coz English is not my mother tongue and I thought I will simply embarrass myself! It turned out that people love my blog and that makes me a very, very happy woman!

    Have a lovely day Barry!

  4. Leah...yes as you know I drop by every day to visit. What does that say about you? Certainly not shallow, my dear.

    Miss Always...if you're a genuinely warm caring person that'll always show through your words.

  5. Thanks for the support Barry! It means a lot to me. Big hugs!

  6. "every once in a great while I stumble upon someone with whose writing I immediately connect. I mean really connect."

    I am visiting your blog today for the first time, and so far this is the only post that I have read. (That will change shortly!) But I wanted you to know that I felt that immediate connection with what you had written.

    My blog is called Style Artisan because I wanted to celebrate those who create a personal style from a creative place deep within their soul, versus those who just blindly follow fashion. I would have to say that you are a word artisan, crafting things of beauty from words and emotions. And again, those creations come from deep within the soul.

    I look forward to reading more, and I will be following you from now on!

  7. Funny you should bring this topic up, because you are one of the few bloggers who moves me with words. I love so many blogs for different reasons (fashion inspiration, current events, etc.) but you are one of the few bloggers who actually makes me think. You are a great writer and your thoughts and questions are so inspirational. I actually think about your blog posts throughout the week. They affect me that much, which is amazing to me. I never thought I would meet a blogger like you. I feel really lucky.

    As for other bloggers who inspire me, I have a feeling you know two of them. ;) Of course they are Sandy and Melanie, among a couple others. Sandy is a huge inspiration to me and I adore her. Melanie is an amazing writer and we have so much in common, it makes me feel less alone.

    As for books...I could go on forever. I am a huge bookworm so many authors have made a huge impact on me. I love how you said reading shows you life through a different perspective because it is so true. I think books make people more open-minded and accepting of others who are different than them. If you are ever looking for book suggestions, let me know. I am a total nerd and will recommend some really good ones. :P

  8. Style Artisan...Wow, how do I even respond to that? Thank you so much for those words, it's one of the most intensely beautiful things anyone has ever said to me!

    Jennifer...Wow to you too, hon. I didn't realize my writing affects you this way. I can't tell you how good it makes me feel to know that, and to know you. Great big hug.

  9. Honestly Barry, now that I think of it, and some of the stuff you've been into over the years, I could see this passion coming. Especially considering your love of stand up comedy, it's really just another form of dialogue and a passion for words. Remember how we used to crack up over George Carlin and other comics? Have you noticed their routines still creep into our conversations even years later? I have the same kind of passion about books and words (to a lesser degree). The Lovely C is a total wordsmith and word freak, she'll read a 400 pg novel in a day. Maybe with your help I can encourage her to write more, her stuff is awesome.

  10. Glad you are taking an interest in reading as you are obviously a gifted writer.

  11. this is such a wonderful post. I read. I read alot. But I'm an only child so I guess I learned to occupy myself. I love reading everyone's blogs because yes it moves me. It moves me that people are getting their stories out there, sharing the fun or pain or dreams. Jennifer wrote in a comment that people writing their stories makes you feel less alone in the world. Exactly. It moves me so much that people can have the courage to open up. It moves me that people have dug up through the trenches & became happy & found the life they wanted for themselves. Your deepness & way you see life moves me too. =)

  12. Tony, I like the way you see stand-up. It is a very valid form of communication, and writing a routines is for me basically the same process as writing anything else.

    CIS, thanks so much for that. What a compliment!

    Melanie, you're so sweet. I said to Sandy earlier how much I love the way you can write about the everyday things and make them poignant and interesting. :)

  13. Put simply? Honesty, sincerity and well-meaningfulness even when its mis-guided - its an odd thing because I was talking about something similar last night with a good friend of mine - just why being British we reacted the way we did to certain situations - granted I'm talking rom-coms here more than great literature. The people that you meet and know play a big part in who you are and who you become and its something never to be forgotten!

    Great piece; I'm as guilty with some of the classics (I'm fairly sure I'll never read Dickens again....) but there is something great about connecting with writing.

  14. You definitely do NOT have to be an avid reader of all classics ever written to love literature. You could be inspired from a few newspaper articles for all I know.

    I love language because of how it affects us all in a different way. Much like any work of art would... It just happens to be that I'm good at this kind of art and not pursuing it would be a crime.

    Oh yeah, you should read Moby Dick... and so should I. Don't tell Professor Marcus!