While reading Joan Didion’s “Why I Write,” I found myself relating an extraordinary amount to Didion’s perspective of the world, how she noticed physical facts and seemingly insignificant details. While working on any task, I always find myself thinking about completely irrelevant things. Just this morning, while I was making fried eggs, all I could think about was the sound a water droplet makes when it hits a pool of water. Why? I don’t know. Whenever I reflect on the past, my mind concentrates on specific details. For example, my memory of visiting a friend’s country house is dominated by the texture of moist, soft dirt between my toes. More interesting things definitely happened on that trip, but I always think about how it felt to walking on earth.
I especially love her belief that the picture in your mind dictates your writing, how you see before you write. Her method of writing is somewhat similar to mine. A certain image always dominates, raising questions that is answered by writing. I agree with her statement on how sentence structure can really affect its meaning. Sentence structure is also really important for aesthetic appeal, which can affect a reader’s response and understanding of a sentence. Depending on what kind of piece it is, concise clear sentences or verbose descriptive sentences may be preferred. I choose my words very clearly, reworking them constantly, and then reading and rereading every sentence I write until it provokes the image I started with.
I did not enjoy Orwell’s piece as much. His four motives for writing were interesting, but not much else really caught my attention. Perhaps it is just me, but I thought his writing style was distracting and I found myself rereading many sentences many times trying to make sense of what he was trying to relay to the reader.