FROM NOW ON 13 - wild goats and gravity

by Susan Weber

Between making a pilgrimage to Cedar Point and picking colors for the outside of the house, I’ve been reading We’re Flying by Swiss author Peter Stamm. His characters spend time on alpine trails, commuter trains, and bar stools that could be anywhere on earth. Their lives are so consistently depressing that I worry for the writer’s state of mind — not to mention mine, darkly wallowing. It may not be your summer beach read.

This week Drew Magary, passing through town to promote his book The Hike, shared this take on writing. He said you have to give your imagination free rein without losing track of the story. In his words, “so you’re not just vomiting on the page.” A colorful truth teller, this one. I know the struggle well. Of all the elaborate details and entertaining tangents you might thrust upon your reader, which ones belong to the best story you’ve got to give?

Paint stores have more colors than a galaxy has stars (I dare you to prove me wrong). Painters lugging buckets up a ladder only need a few to do the job. Cedar Point has roller coasters every which way to kingdom come. If you tackle them indiscriminately, you will puke. And those who know better will glare at you for spoiling their ride.

There is something to be said for circumspection.

Photo by Martouf Public Domain