Along with the urge to write comes the desire to tell a story, share a vision, or create a world. When I write, I also aim for literary composition and hope to achieve lyricism and beauty. This can be as elusive as the goal of balance and poise in a yoga pose. My ability to produce a story that has these qualities is influenced, in the most basic sense, by my mastery of the art and craft, but also by my frame of mind, a chance encounter, or a song I overheard.
According to Stephen Spender, one of the five qualities of literary composition is Song. He defines it this way: “Song is the expert use of language, not merely in the sense of correct usage, but in the sense that language is the means by which a certain music is created, a sound in the ears as well as logic for the mind. It is meter, it is rhythm, it is emphasis, it is even gesture.” (From: The Art of Writing Fiction, by Ray B. West)
Using language in this way to tell a story can be challenging. For most of us, it takes practice, but it is a worthy goal. Determining whether I’ve achieved it is so subjective, it’s difficult to measure. One way I know I’ve gotten close is when someone reads what I’ve written and sighs, or says “aha,” or cries, or calls out in delight. That is the reason I write.