Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Sounds of Earth

Earth, the mother of us all, speaks to us in various ways. Sometimes her sounds are pleasing to the ear. Birds of the morning sing, warm spring winds rustles the new leaves on the trees, young squirrels, bushey tails aloft, chatter to each other as they peel acorns and morning doves coo the sun up. Sometimes her sounds assail the ear: wind howling across mountain tops, the startling crack of trees breaking in Hurricane winds, the fearful on-rushing railroad sound of a tornado when it touches ground. This morning, as the oil well drilling continues south of my woods (like a giant dentists drill) the earth is emiting loud groans like the giant bit was hitting nerves deep within the earth.
It's still turkey hunting season here. A hunter walks out of the woods across the road from my porch. He's a neighbor and I yell at him, "See or hear any turkey?" He shakes his head 'no', throws his arms up and yells back, "I don't know where they've went this year!" and walks off, head down, looking for the elusive track. But he's a man of the woods and he knows, as I know, the gobblers have moved miles away from the maddening sound of the earth groaning, sometimes horrendously enough to carry for many miles.


Blogger Sunwolf said...

Hmm, a noble cause, but make the answer a little less obvious. As it is, you begin with too blunt a statement of the correlation between sound and Nature. Hell, you even start out with "Sounds of Earth" as the title. This gives the rest of the piece a kind of anticlimactic feeling, even the final sentence. Actually, considering the final sentence in isolation, it takes too long to restate the thesis. Ending on such a long, meaningfully dilute sentence is similar to ending on a cliffhanger, except without the tension, so it's more like staring meaningfully into a pothole.

Changes suggested:
-Up the aural imagery. Yes, it sounds paradoxical, but right now you have a bunch of optical images that you use to describe, indirectly, the aural. Vibrations. Vibrations. Sound is all about vibrations. Kinetic imagery would work better too. They're inherently related, after all.
-Make it more interesting. In this, you essentially say, in the most concise form, "Oil drilling bad." Okay, great, it's bad. What effect does it have on you? Mental? Physical? Spiritual? Social? What is the exact nature of the conflict between you and the oil drillers? But...
-Make it less obvious. It brings the conclusion too quickly to the reader without allowing their own thoughts to percolate. Remeber, once a writer publishes something, the piece isn't theirs to interpret anymore - it's the readers'. Focus on that more.
-Simplify. Simplify simplify simplify. The simplest is the most elegant. I like to call it the "meaning density." MD = (Meaning) / (number of words X average word length). The higher the density, the greater the impact. Using big words is fun...but it's intellectually bankrupt, unless it refers to an idea too specific for a layman to understand. If you have to use that, though, you're generally writing to a different audience.

7:52 AM  
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1:59 PM  

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