Do you love great writing? You're a writer. Of course you do. Today, songwriter and author Buck Storm provides encouragement and a way to write beautiful prose. -- Sandy
Buck: Be it lyric or prose—I’m in awe of great writing. I’ve been in love with words for as long as I can remember. Lewis’s vision, Hemingway’s dialogue, Salinger’s rhythm, the way Dylan or Cash take you through a lifetime of emotion in three and a half minutes… Man, that’s the stuff. The great ones have a way of gathering and weaving together bits and pieces of life that we all recognize and identify with. The end result resonates in our hearts.
What makes them great? There’s an old songwriter’s adage - Want to say it? Then quit saying it. Never live in the obvious. Obvious is boring.
One benefit of concert performance—believe me, I’ve learned the hard way—is immediate audience response. Up there, there’s no mystery about what works and what doesn’t. Just try dressing up your pet sermon/lesson as a song (or nominal fiction) and sending it out the door like a four-year old in a Halloween costume. Hey kid, nice eye-patch, but that’s a Magic Marker mustache and you’re still three feet tall—have a Snickers. No thanks, brother. A live audience will let you know every time, and in no uncertain terms—we’re not buying it.
But drop the pretence? Pull your heart out and show it to them? Bleed with them a little? That’s something people will get behind. That’s what speaks. In fact, that’s the Christ Story.
So, as writers we have a tricky problem. We want to convey a message we’re passionate about, but not in a way that comes off as hokey, or worse—condescending. Answer? Simple, forget the message. Be passionate about Him. The rest will come. He’ll insist on it.
I love my friend, Jesus. I’ve traveled the world with Him and no matter where I go I find He’s intimately involved in the lives of men. And little bits of life, exotic and familiar, fall around us like stars. Story is everywhere.
The truck-driver with the gold teeth and dreads on his way to Amarillo with a half-load. The businessman tripping over the homeless girl—he doesn’t look down, she doesn’t look up. The woman cleaning the rest-stop bathroom. The family taking pictures with the eighty-foot, concrete dinosaur. The old man in the oxidized Cadillac with the bronze racehorse bolted to the hood… So many people, so many stories. Hundreds, thousands, millions. And God—the Beautiful Reality—deeply invested in every single one of them, be they prodigal or pilgrim.
What a relief! I don’t need to be clever (good thing). I need to be His. And if my writing is a byproduct of my skin-to-skin relationship with Him (rather than the other way around) He will be there at every turn. I can skip the spoon-full of sugar that helps the lesson go down and get on with the real thing. The important thing.
Get on with living.
Get on with writing.
Get on with Jesus.
He never has writer’s block.
Do you ever worry that you won't find that next story idea or scene idea? Is there a particular place where you find yourself stopped in your manuscript? How do you "get on" with it?
Buck Storm has marked time as a commercial diver, fisherman, sailor, and musician. A veteran singer/songwriter, he’s bounced around the planet with a guitar and a pocketful of stories and made friends in venues across the country. Buck writes about this mixed-up, out of control, beautiful cacophony we call humanity. About life as he sees it—or sometimes just how he'd like it to be. Buck and his wife, Michelle, have a happy love story, a hideout in North Idaho, and two wonderful children. The Miracle Man is his first novel.