Monday, July 20, 2009

Love Is Stronger Than Death

Love is stronger than death . . .

I know it’s true because my grandmother has been gone for fifty years, and I still love her. Death cannot erase her smile from my memory or mute her quiet whistling that I hear plainly in my mind. Sometimes I even catch myself whistling under my breath the way she did. Death can’t remove the vivid image I have of her wearing her flour-sack smock and pleated bonnet as she walked up the little country lane with her little wire-haired terrior named Rags to the mailbox or sat on the bank of the pond with her fishing pole.

Love is stronger than death. I know because I can still taste the special flavor of Grandmother’s mashed potatoes. I can smell the sweet, delicious aroma of her butterscotch pie baking in the old farmhouse kitchen. Nobody else’s tasted just as hers did. I can still see the sticks of gum and tiny handmade yarn dolls that hung on the cedar Christmas tree in the front room. And I can feel the warmth of her colorful, handmade quilts and deep feather bed.

Love is stronger than death. So I must learn to be content to know that love is not affected by death—it doesn’t end, it doesn’t diminish, it doesn’t change. Instead love is immortalized and eternalized through death. And the possibility of that love ever being damaged or broken is eliminated forever. I’ll put my trust in love and the God who is love, because both are everlasting.

This bit of my writing has been quoted so many times I can't even count. I don't know why. I suppose it's because people need reassurance in the face of loss. I'm sharing it here because I thought, perhaps, you or someone you know might be comforted by it as well.

And now for our final writing myth. Enjoy!


Writing Myth #10:

Perfecting the Passive Voice

Passive voice is like kissing your brother—boring, without passion, not worth repeating. In order to fully engage your readers’ minds, you must engage their hearts and emotions. Make them laugh; make them cry. Make them sigh with relief or hold their breath with fear or anticipation. Whatever you do, don’t let them feel nothing. If you do, you have failed as a writer, because writing is a passionate pursuit.

In order to engage your readers, avoid the passive voice. It is weak and ineffective. It is platonic and meaningless. Take the story's action by the throat and squeeze until it screams. Show passion! Help your reader experience the action by using active voice.

Tip: when you have finished writing your story, go all the way through the manuscript looking specifically at every sentence to ensure that it is in the active voice. It will be worth the extra effort when your writing is powerful and moving.

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