“The creative act lasts but a brief moment, a lightning instant of give-and-take, just long enough for you to level the camera and to trap the fleeting prey in your little box.”- Henri Cartier-Bresson

Have you ever had one of those moments? The ones when you’re having the time of your life, and somehow, subconsciously maybe, you stop and realize. You realize that you’re young, you’re having a great time, and no matter what, you’ll never be able to go back and enjoy it again.

I had one of those moments the other day. I was touring colleges with my mom, and I just got absolutely caught up in everything. I realized how quickly my junior year will be over, how close I am to college, and how much I’m ready to grow up. It was surreal, almost.

But I believe we also have moments like that in our writing. Moments when we get an idea and don’t have the time to write it down, and they’re gone. It’s frustrating, isn’t it? If you don’t capture your ideas when you get them, then they’re gone. Forever. You may be able to recover little bits and pieces, but it’ll never sound the same again.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot, what with Nano coming up. I’m still prepping, and I will be until 11:59 tomorrow night. Remember to always keep a pen and pad with you, or be sure to keep notes on your phone. Voice recorders on cellphones do wonders, too. Always be prepared!

“When something can be read without great effort, great effort has gone into its writing.”-Enrique Poncek

Aside

I received this quote as a writing prompt in AP English today, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I love everything about it, because to me, it encapsulates everything about being a writer. This is what we need to strive for. You don’t want to write heavy, difficult prose that rings distantly of Wuthering Heights and Frankenstein. 

No, rather, you want to make your writing seem effortless, as if you wrote it on a Sunday afternoon, or over a long, lazy weekend. Even if it took you years- even if you cried and screamed and pulled your hair out- the audience shouldn’t see. They should read it and be inspired and think that they, too, can do it. Because they can. Whether they know it or not, they are just as capable as the rest of us.

I can’t remember the last time I found writing to be effortless. The inspiration comes easily when I don’t want it, but the moment I have nothing to write-it’s gone. Inspiration is a clever thing; it creeps into our thoughts and taints the things we see and strives to spark a flame. Many times, we don’t write it down, and it drifts away. It’s a terrible thing, wasted inspiration.

I have moments, I suppose, when I do, say, or write something, and it really makes me feel like a writer. I feel like a liar, like a cheater, when I call myself a writer and haven’t written in weeks. But I do have my moments. Moments when I wake up with an idea running through my head that won’t quit until I write it down, moments when I’m suddenly inspired and drop everything that I’m doing, moments when I finished a chapter or revise a short story, moments when I drink my coffee and stay up all night because I can’t rest until I’ve seen a story through. Those are the moments that I live for. It’s moments like those that make everything worth it. All of the lost sleep, the ignored homework assignments, the cramps in my hands from writing. Everything.

So, I suppose I’m saying to pour everything that you can into your writing. Blood, sweat, and tears, as the saying goes. You want your writing to be something accessible, something that people can read without reaching for the dictionary or chucking it across the room in frustration. You want your audience to be able to open your book and step inside and feel like they belong. You want your book to be personable and inviting, not cold and distant. What good are beautiful sentences if they cannot be comprehended?

Or so I think. But what do I know? I’m just a high school student.

“We dare not tempt them with weakness…”

Aside

I’ve been asking myself the same question the last few weeks…

Why am I so obsessed with this man?

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I’m not sure if it’s an obsession, but I absolutely love reading about him. His life is ridiculously fascinating, and then there’s the fact that he’s extremely photogenic.

I think the Kennedys are the closest thing that we have ever had to royalty in America. They are the utter epitome of grace, charm, sophistication, and splendor. Their family history is rich, and it has deep, novel roots. The sheer number of them is outstanding, and they all went on to do something, to be something. Their vacations in Martha’s Vineyard were fascinating, and I know that the country must have looked on with an air of respectful envy. Times were different then; they could leave their doors unlocked and their gates open, and no one would infringe upon their privacy. Times have certainty changed.

 But my love of John F. Kennedy stems, I think, from his speeches. Now, I know that he didn’t write them himself. Ted Sorensen was a close adviser and speechwriter to the President, and he was a complete master with words. Anyone who has ever listened to the words (not the delivery, mind you, the actual words) realize how beautiful their arrangement is. Words are a beautiful thing, especially when they compliment each other. Phrases such as “twilight struggle” and passages such as “…not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are…” are enough to keep me writing for days. Every speech that I read prompts me to write in the same manner; with unrestrained confidence and mastery of the English Language.

The speeches, no matter how wonderfully written they are, would only be half as mesmerizing if Jack wasn’t as gifted as he was. JFK was a brilliant orator, and performed his speeches rather than gave them. One could listen to him speak for days. (Not to mention that gorgeous accent…)

You can’t help but smile when watching John speak. There’s just something about him that draws you in. (Something besides his ridiculously good looks, I mean.) Perhaps it’s the assassination. I could research it forever and still never be satisfied. It’s intriguing, heart wrenching, and enthralling all at once, mostly because we’ll never really know. 

Perhaps it’s the curse, if you believe in it. Too many tragedies have befallen the family for it to be considered coincidence.

But regardless, I am in absolute love with John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and his life continues to inspire me. Besides, how could you not love this?

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“Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, “Because it is there.”

Well, space is there, and we’re going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God’s blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.”

Thank you.

“All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.”-F. Scott Fitzgerald

I want to create so badly. The need posses me, and it doesn’t let go until I’ve written, or until I’m left feeling guilty and useless for ignoring it. I lay awake at night, terrified of dying without making a difference. The need to be known occupies a special part of my brain. I cannot fathom an anonymous life. I must be read, and therefore, I must write.

So step inside, take a look, and fall in love with words as I do.

As always, thank you for the light.