Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hidden Nerve

When I was in Mexico, I read a book that was given to me as a present called Writers on Writing. It was a book that SUNY Cortland used for a Professional Writing class. The book is composed of many scholarly articles from published authors on writing. I read the book from cover to cover, annotating like a wild fiend. It really inspired me to do something more than just blog here or journal in my out-dated purple spiral.

This was the first essay, one of my favorites, written by Andre Aciman about the hidden nerve:

“Don’t all writers have a hidden nerve, call it a secret chamber, something incredibly theirs, which stirs their prose and makes it tick and turn this way or that, and identifies them, like a signature, though it lurks far deeper than their style, or their voice or other telltale antics?

"A hidden nerve is what every writer is ultimately about. It’s what all writers wish to uncover when writing about themselves in this age of the personal memoir. And yet it’s also the first thing that every writer learns to sidestep, to disguise, as though this nerve were a deep and shameful secret that needs to be swathed in many sheaths. Some don’t even know they’ve screened this nerve from their own gaze, let alone another’s. some crudely mistake confession for introspection. Others, more cunning perhaps, often tempting shortcuts and roundabout passageways, the better to mislead everyone. Some can’t tell whether they’re writing to strip or hide that secret nerve.”

Think about that. Personally, just using this space to expand my own thoughts, as much as I like to be sullen or darker when I write, I think that humor suits my writing the best. I think I need to switch my writing with an eye on that hidden nerve, because I really hadn't discovered how "funny" some of my writing was until I read it out loud to others.

When I was in tenth grade, we had to write a speech about the person we admired the most. Of course, I wrote about my grandmother. During one part of my speech, I mentioned how I loved how my grandmother was always there for me, for she got my head stuck out of the refrigerator when I was three. I was michevious, always trying to search or figure things out. Anyway, the class laughed really hard, to the point where I had to pause and wait for silence to continue. I was so surprised; I didn't think that I could be funny. I didn't think that that was funny. I was also encountered with a similar occurence during my Teaching Writing class last semester. I didn't think I was funny.

Anyway, I'm not trying to flatter myself. I think we all should embrace something positive about our writing because we are usually critical more than supportive. Positive feedback is always good to hear, just as criticism is. If anyone would like to comment on anything positive/negative you've noticed with my own writing, I would really appreciate it.

But, what is your hidden nerve?

1 comment:

Andre said...

I'm still trying to learn what it is... if only to celebrate it or just to accept it.