Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Say … What?

Riva Pomerantz

Monday, March 07, 2011

I love words. Good thing, huh, me being a writer and all! When I sit down to write a piece, it’s fascinating to me how the words tumble out — sometimes softly, sometimes harshly, almost with a mind of their own. There’s a magic to words, especially when they describe the indescribable with such intensity and accuracy that the reader — and the writer — both intuit the exact intangible idea as though they could feel it with their fingertips.

But honestly, people, sometimes I can get carried away. Inexplicably I find myself impassioned by the luscious syllables. Craving to convey a message buried deep within my mind, I string the words together like jumbled gemstones. And although they glisten and I sigh at their beauty, eyes of other beholders blink in the glare.

Like this e-mail I received, from an editor I know and love, on a recent installment of my serialized story, “Charades”:

To be honest, this sounds like she’s high on something. It’s just too too. Gila is not this New Age-y, “listen to your inner voices” type of person. It’s fine if she has an epiphany; we need a way to move her out of the hole she’s crawled into. But if you can tone it down a bit, I think it will be far more believable.

Sigh.

I argued, I balked, I coaxed, I cried. But when a second editor had the same beef with the same sentence, I caved. I mean, what are the odds of two separate editors zeroing in on the exact same sentence out of a whole five pages of text to pick on?

Now aren’t you curious what the sentence was? Wouldn’t you like to behold the sty in the eye of my literary higher-ups? Relax, dear reader, far be it from me to deny you the pleasure of beholding the axed sentence in all its mesmerizing glory. For despite my editors’ protests, I think it reads so exquisitely, melodically, and evocatively, that it deserves to be showcased — if not in your magazine this week, then at least on your computer screen.

Ready? Here goes:

And then, in a frothing, bursting moment, time and space melted away and in their place came a strange peace, like the perfect silence of a radiant island haloed with blissful sun.

Ahhhh … I get chills reading it. But I have to admit — it is a bit over-the-top.

And at the end of the day, as the wordsmith slings a heavy satchel of nouns and verbs and adjectives across her back, slumped against the weight and clanging of the tools of trade, she sheds a tear for words cut down in the prime of their lives (sob! That adverb never made it past the first rewrite. Obliterated by the delete key in favor of a chintzy, shabby synonym. It was a good word — honest, courageous, solid. R.I.P.) even as she grudgingly acknowledges … it did make Gila sound a bit far-out.

For more of Riva's writing's visit www.rivapomerantz.com!

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"