Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I must keep my own style

I must keep my own style and go on in my own way; and though I may never succeed again in that, I am convinced that I should totally fail in any other.

- Jane Austen

“Style is a very simple matter; it is all rhythm. Once you get that, you can't use the wrong words. But on the other hand here am I sitting after half the morning, crammed with ideas, and visions, and so on, and can't dislodge them, for lack of the right rhythm. Now this is very profound, what rhythm is, and goes far deeper than any words. A sight, an emotion, creates this wave in the mind, long before it makes words to fit it.”

- Virginia Woolf

Elegance is refusal.”

- Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel also said, "It is always better to be slightly underdressed."

As I begin this new piece of writing, I've been thinking about style, rhythm. I want it to be elegant, simple, and yet be true to a certain rhythm. It's not going to be so very different from parts of Asking, my book of poem-essays that will be coming out in the spring. At least, I don't think so now. Have been trying to write into the rhythm of the thing, let whatever wants to be said, said. That dissatisfaction and yet happiness that one feels at the beginning of something new. Something to do with it being a lovely secret still, completely one's own. Feeling it's not good enough, but that it could be, it will be. And also that it doesn't matter, at least in the way that something published matters. No one can see it, and if need be, no one will see it. Which is that liberating realization one rather desperately needs with a new work.

The same is true with photographs. In shooting the everyday, one develops a style, both in the framing of a shot, and the selection of subject. After that, the processing is an endless list of choices. But also - one shoots the landscape which is readily available, the life that lies before one. (My stone bowls - over and over).

I think there's a lesson in that, for me anyway - rather than waiting for the perfect shot, the wonderful subject, one photographs what one can, what is available. At this time of year, where the daylight is so minimal at latitude 53.....there will be limited opportunities. Sunrise is 8:40 and sunset is 4:14.

But it's still possible to find available slivers of light. Though I admit, right now I'm missing those later summer nights....


  1. These are wonderful quotes. Your own elegant style, your images and writing insights add to me. Thank you. I will wait impatiently for your new book.

  2. I'm glad you liked them, Stephen :)


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