“Make It Don’t Say It”
The action creates the feeling. You cannot tell someone how to feel by describing your own. You can only show them. The implicit demand behind “do you love me?” has worked zero times in the history of abstract thought.
“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” [It must be above all a] “true, simple, declarative sentence.” – E. Hemingway
Hemingway wrote fiction. Hemingway had emotion he wanted to share. He used action to do it.
The colors, the jobs, the cars, the sex, the men and women, the towns, the food, the bulls, the country, the wars, the guns, the ammo, the fish, and the boats were mere commodities; interchangeable.
Why? Because facts do not equal truth. Experience does. And if you feel what’s written then it’s true; was your experience also—which is not to say either good or bad. That is another thing altogether.
It’s the action plus the feeling that equals experience. Has there been feeling in your life? Those feelings are the truth of the physical world experienced. All humans have truth in them; have experience. A story teller’s gift is to draw from our well of feeling with the instrument of her own truth shared.
People, and God in them, feel only by being shown truth in their lives. Do with the facts as you will, but replay before their mind’s eye the same experiences they have already had, and they might even cry.
Shelby Foote said some writer’s keep remembrances of death on their desk. Skulls. Simple reminders. Life and death are all around us. A writer can take nothing for granted. This is learned knowledge. If it stays in your head the reader will not experience it and then will not feel it. But it need not be said directly, which is the art of truth.
My ego makes me think death is far and that I can fend it off forever, with the freshly cut, green, bending little bent sticks of the world.
What is it about 35? I think of the ones who passed before me. I think of the wisdom they’ve already found. They are my heroes. They walked the sandy road, grassy between their toes; came upon the big, slow, warm, silty river and swam across to that lonesome shore.