In Others’ Words: Tangles



by Zhonk/

I love writing.  I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.  ~James Michener (1907-1997), American author

I read that quote by James Michener and thought: Yes! Yes! Yes!

I love writing too — even on the days I hate writing. You know what I mean: the days when the words won’t come. When the characters turn their backs on you. When you can’t even spell “the” without having to look it up in the dictionary.

Even on those kind of wretched days, I love writing. I’ve been pulled under by “the swirl and swing of words” that Michener mentions, and found myself tangled up in all sorts of emotions: fear and doubt and longing and hope that slakes my thirsty soul and bravery and love and even, dare I say it, hate for things ugly and defiling.

There’s nothing more invigorating than being caught in the pull of another writer’s words — pulled into the story world they created, where imaginary people become oh-so-real. Nothing … except when the words I write swirl and swing me into a tangle of emotions so that my imaginings come to life on the page.


In Your Words: What do you love about writing? Readers, do you have a favorite author whose writing pulls you into the tangle of human emotions?

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  1. Teresa R
    August 22, 2012, 4:57 am   /  Reply

    My favorite author is Dee Henderson. Her O’Malley series let you know each character in depth, yet there was a constant theme that ran through each book that held the series together. The jobs the characters held created the drama; there was romance, and each covered a different aspect of God.

    • Beth Vogt
      August 22, 2012, 10:18 am   /  Reply

      Thanks for sharing, Teresa. Dee is a well-respected author. Love the idea of having a constant theme running through a series.

  2. Amy Leigh Simpson
    August 22, 2012, 6:23 am   /  Reply

    Oh, Beth, I love this! It’s like someone plucked the words from my head.I honestly love the whole process of writing. Dream ing up ideas, twisting words like the swirl of a paint brush on canvas…. It’s just plain magic. So blessed that God keeps filling my head with stories!

    • Beth Vogt
      August 22, 2012, 10:19 am   /  Reply

      Lovely word picture, Amy: “twisting words like the swirl of a paint brush on a canvas … “

  3. August 22, 2012, 6:44 am   /  Reply

    I would say “creativity” but realize that’s a blanket term. Shaping landscapes, people, scenes with words, like a toddler building with blocks and amazed by possibilities. Whether it’s character emotion or setting description, sticking with it until there’s that satisfying sense of getting it right, though it sometimes reaches a different and/or greater destination than we planned.

    • Beth Vogt
      August 22, 2012, 11:03 am   /  Reply

      Another wonderful word picture, Dee!

  4. August 22, 2012, 7:12 am   /  Reply

    Oh yeah, LOVE this! I wrote on Rachelle’s blog yesterday that I love the blend of catharsis and empathy that happens when I write.
    ~ Wendy

    • Beth Vogt
      August 22, 2012, 11:04 am   /  Reply

      We’re tracking together, Wendy — and I love that!

  5. Jeanne
    August 22, 2012, 7:19 am   /  Reply

    Love this, Beth. Words tangling with readers’ emotions. I love writing, even when it’s not flowing. I love seeing a first draft fly onto the page when I have an idea of where a scene is going. I making my “ugly copy” pretty in the revision process.

    • Beth Vogt
      August 22, 2012, 11:05 am   /  Reply

      Love it all — even when I’m not loving it.

  6. August 22, 2012, 7:22 am   /  Reply

    Writing soothes my soul. When I’m writing, I’m much calmer, even on bad writing days, which is saying a lot for someone with ADHD.

    • Beth Vogt
      August 22, 2012, 11:05 am   /  Reply

      Yes, yes, Pat. I understand that “soothing” aspect of writing too. I think it’s because we are being ourselves when we write.

  7. August 22, 2012, 7:35 am   /  Reply

    I love those moments when EVERYTHING comes together in a scene…the perfect story world, the wittiest dialog, the just-right action. Sadly, those moments don’t come every day! Haha…but I know they can come. I know a story can hit its sweet spot and so I love writing for those moments, knowing at some point things are going to feel…awesome. 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      August 22, 2012, 11:06 am   /  Reply

      Always aiming for those moments, which come in the rewrites.

  8. August 22, 2012, 7:58 am   /  Reply

    I love that quote, Beth! I just love the whole process of writing. The prayer, mind preparation, research, the excitement of a blank page of possibilities, a new pen, and of course coffee. 🙂 My favorite author is Ann Voskamp. She’s goes so deep that her words cannot be read fast – they must be read slow and savored for their depth and breadth. Beautiful.

    • Beth Vogt
      August 22, 2012, 11:07 am   /  Reply

      Agree with you about Ann Voskamp. I read her words s-l-o-w-l-y.

  9. August 22, 2012, 8:16 am   /  Reply

    “I love writing—even on days when I hate writing.” Beth this says it so well! There are so many authors out there who pull me in. At the moment, I have two favorites, Jim Rubart with his fiction; and Marcia Moston with her recently released memoir, Call of a Coward.

    • Beth Vogt
      August 22, 2012, 11:07 am   /  Reply

      What an intriguing title: Call of a Coward. Must go look that one up!

  10. August 22, 2012, 8:25 am   /  Reply

    Love this. Tweeted it!

    • Beth Vogt
      August 22, 2012, 11:08 am   /  Reply


  11. August 22, 2012, 8:46 am   /  Reply

    I can relate to those days when you have to look up the spelling of the simplest words – it’s so crazy! I love getting tangled up in the mood and emotion – the hard part is doing it on my own and then walking into my family room and there are five humans who haven’t been on the rollercoaster of emotions with me and they don’t get why I’m so upset – or elated! One day I went to my husband and shook my head: “I just killed four people in one fell swoop. It was awful.” He kind of blinked for a few seconds and then laughed. (I rewrote the scene and brought one of them back to life to redeem myself, but then his character got chopped in the big rewrite.) 🙂

    • Beth Vogt
      August 22, 2012, 11:09 am   /  Reply

      Oh, Gabrielle, it’s so true how our family and friends have to catch up with us and our imaginary characters!

  12. August 22, 2012, 9:55 am   /  Reply

    Love, love, love. I love it when I come up with a metaphor without even meaning to. I also love it when my words can touch someone else.

    • Beth Vogt
      August 22, 2012, 11:10 am   /  Reply

      I’ve had unexpected moments of brilliance too. LOL I love it when someone says “I love the symbolism you put in there” and I’m thinking “Where? Oh, yeah, there.”

  13. August 22, 2012, 10:23 am   /  Reply

    I love the word tangles. It sounds so messy, but in an okay way. What I love most about writing is it put an end to my long-time (and very frustrating) search for a purpose in life. When writing finally showed up as a career choice, we married and settled down. To date, we’ve only had a handful of arguments and maybe one or two breakups. 🙂 I’m into nonfiction and always reading Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way.

    • Beth Vogt
      August 22, 2012, 11:12 am   /  Reply

      Sounds like you an writing have a very real, honest relationship — complete with all the prerequisite ups and downs, Kim. Stay the course. You are where you were meant to be all along.

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