James Giago Davies. Photo courtesy Native Sun News Today

James Giago Davies: We are all writing to be brilliant for that one perfect person

Reading between the lines of every columnist

We all write for a single, perfect person
By James Giago Davies

A couple of weeks back Tim Giago wrote a column where he graciously explained that Iyeska Journal does not write down to our readers. Each column attempts to apply the best parts of the English language, to use the power of words to advocate, educate and entertain. Occasionally, the reader will be utterly mystified as to the point of a given column.

Columns are opinion, they are not meant as news, and they do not necessarily reflect the sentiments of the paper. For decades, Tim has printed columns with which he did not agree, and during that time, ignorant people assumed whatever he prints, he must endorse. He does not.

In The Goodbye Girl, Richard Dreyfus tells Marsha Mason that when he reads something brilliant, he knows exactly what makes it brilliant, exactly. But when he attempts to write such brilliance himself, he can’t. I personally feel there is brilliance in the mind of a person who can marvel at brilliance, whether he can produce any.

But…most people who cannot write brilliantly, also can’t recognize brilliant writing when they read it. Most of us are Dr. Watson, not Sherlock Holmes, most of us are Barney Fife, not Sheriff Andy Taylor. Don’t blame the state of the world on evil people. These people are a sinister minority, a small fraction of the human equation—they draw their power, their ability to wreak havoc on our world, from the mediocrity of those they delude.

You figure out very young most people who read what you write will grasp only a small portion of it, perhaps not even that. So, you create in your mind, an audience of one, a person rife with humor and wit and compassion and wisdom, a person with a deep tolerance and appreciation for the unique and the sublime, who instinctively understands quality writing is not driven by big words and flowery rhetoric, but by varied sentence lengths, deftly applied alliteration, and powerful verbs.

You write as if this person comprehensively understands every aspect touched upon in every column. As a writer, I need to believe this person is real, that her eyes will read every word I write, and understand every point I make. That when she disagrees with what I assert, she does so because her perfection awaits, with limitless patience, my ability to find the words to gratify and edify.


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Reading between the lines of every columnist
James Giago Davies is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. He can be reached at skindiesel@msn.com

Copyright permission Native Sun News Today

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