When I was 13 years old, my father used to like to quote chunks of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. It’s a long poem about the triumph of the moment – of love and beauty – over lifetimes of sorrow and decay. He was – and still is – a great speaker and often declaimed this lovely dawn verse first thing:
Awake for morning in the bowl of night
Hath flung the stone that puts the stars
And lo! The hunter of the east has caught
The sultan’s turret in a noose of light!
I can’t read Khayyám’s original – it was translated by Edward FitzGerald from Farsi, I think – so I don’t know the structure of its verses and rhymes. I’ve always assumed it must be in quatrains, but does it, like FitzGerald, rhyme first, second and fourth lines, leaving a lovely freedom in the end of the third?
Writing is an intricate business. Even a short work requires enormous brain-space, holding all the events and characters and moods in your head at once. It is easy to lose track and, then, to lose confidence.
Greg and I run writing classes and you can find links to them in the right nav. As time goes on, I’ve also got some tips I want to post in Kate’s Workshop – an extension of the 52 Advice to writers pages on www.mosselabyrinth.co.uk.
After all, that’s the only thing that makes you a writer – words on the page, one after another, like sand through a timer, until, at last, they make a heap, a substantial, adorable heap.