Is Beautiful Writing Guilty of Wasting Our Time?

I’ve been on a science fiction kick lately, listening to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Hyperion, and Ready Player One.  It’s been really fun.

I have a confession to make –  I gave up on Hyperion, not because it was lame, but because the road was long.  I have a 45 minute commute and frequently listen to audio books.  Hyperion was on a must-read sci-fi list so I snatched it up from my local library.  The case containing the CDs was about the size of a cinder block, housing 18 discs.  I slid in the first CD and was instantly seduced.  Dan Simmons slides up and down the English language like a concert pianist.  There was a scene when the main players assembled and he described their garb so elegantly I wanted to cry.  The man is a maestro!  Who knew cuff links and poofy sleeves could be so beautiful?

Why Did I Give Up?

I didn’t even finish the first disc.  I panicked.  Dan Simmons is in good company:  This happened to me during Moby Dick too.  The beautiful high seas were described at length.  Page after page.  Like a sea-sick voyager, I couldn’t stomach it.  I have to get on with my life!  Maybe I’m a victim of society?  Is instant gratification to blame for my inability to sit still and read something beautiful?  I don’t know.  Inspired by a WellsBaum post about Book Guilt, I tossed the Hyperion CD back into its cinder block.

Wrong or right, my life moves at light speed and I don’t want to spend 18 CDs in the depths of outer space or bobbing up and down in the waves chasing a whale simply because it’s beautiful.

It’s Discouraging

As an aspiring writer, I wonder, “What can I possibly produce that will capture a reader’s attention?”  This is the million dollar question.  Heck, if you’re new, earning milk money would be euphoric!  What can I say that’s worth listening to?  If Melville and Simmons get ejected out of my car, what can I do to avoid that fate?

Do You Have Time for Beautiful Writing?

I’m eager to hear your thoughts in the comments below!


8 thoughts on “Is Beautiful Writing Guilty of Wasting Our Time?

  1. Here’s my unsophisticated response. Writings are like music and art. Some people love the classics because they’re classics and they are good. Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Garrison Keller. isn’t Garrison Keller a classic writer? Well, every generation needs its own musicians, artist and writers. I’ve read sermons from famous preachers and realized their style of message would not transfer in today’s congregations. The classic sermon is good, no question about that; it’s just the listening culture is different. Every generation can and should produce their own “classics”. i admit we should all be encouraged to read, look at and listen to “the classics”. but there are some classics I will never connect with doesn’t stop me from wanting to be in the running to create a possible “classic”. I believe The Sullivan Spin is proof of that.

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  2. If God gives us a gift to write beautiful work, then we should apply ourselves and “go for it!” We’re to steward everything He gives us, right? Thanks for visiting my blog, which tipped me to follow yours. May you and your family be abundantly blessed this week!!

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  3. Those first 150 pages or so of Moby Dick were really tough for me too. But I hung in there and like so much of classic literature it got very, very good and my patience was rewarded. The same with Hunchback Of Notre Dame, and it’s one of my favorite books.
    As for your writing…Write about your interest, about your convictions, about your passions. Within these things you will find joy, satisfaction, respect and your audience is there also.

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    1. I enjoyed elements of Moby Dick, the odd couple pairing of green newby sailor and hardened isalnd cannibal was interesting. The descriptions of weather were closer to poetry – really beautiful. I think I’m just an impatient, spoiled American.

      Fantastic writing advice! I hope my passions find an audience, if not, the joy and satisfaction are enough.

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  4. Oh, Moby Dick. My second least favorite book of all time, right behind Ulysses. I wanted so much to love both classics, but they just went on and on and on. I agree with you. For me, sometimes it’s my mood when it comes to whether or not a book has too much detail. And sometimes, it’s just too much description, no matter how wonderful the writing. I don’t think you should feel guilty about giving up on a book. Maybe try it again another time. Might have a different mindset? And don’t worry about your own writing. A wise human once said write what you want to read. If you do that, someone else will want to read it too.

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