I’m thinking about “the right word” this morning because I’ve been working with fearless, peerless April of “Aye Chihuahua” on polishing her story for submission to Glamour’s “My Real Life Story” contest.
April’s voice as a writer is wild and funny, in no small part due to her eccentric use of language. I know other writers like April, whose work wouldn’t pass muster with a strict high school English teacher, but moves the heart like a roll in a sweet lover’s bed. She can turn out paragraphs that leave you scratching your head about exactly what just happened, but dazed with pleasure at the feel of the words.
Can a writer who works like that win a magazine contest? We’ll see.
Does writing NEED to be clear to be good?
Emily Dickinson’s Poem 1129 comes to mind (and I have to laugh, because I encountered it recently in both the memoir-writing book I disliked and the one I really loved)–the one that includes the line–
“Tell All the Truth but tell it slant”
April writes slant-wise, and I think that’s where her potential to be a contest-winner lies. Sometimes choosing the right word means finding the one that slants nearby the expected one but at an angle that makes you see differently. The right word may not be the one the strict English teacher would demand.
For a good post on choosing exactly the right word, click over to Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett’s blog, Women’s Memoirs, and check out this post from July 5, 2011.
Or give April’s “Aye Chihuahua” blog a random visit… like, say, this post from January 16, 2011 on the Tlacolula Market.