Note: This was originally written as a free-form test entry for Quarto (Domesticat: The CMS); I liked it so much you're now reading it here on TealArt
Also: Amy asked for test entries, so I started typing and 300 some words and a bit of editing later created this entry. Now that I've read over it, I think that I'm going to post it over on TealArt too.
There are two kinds of good books: books that say interesting things and books that say things in an interesting way.
I read tons of fairly bad science fiction books because I'm interested in the characters or what the author has to say. A lot of really great authors just say interesting things. I love reading interesting things that provoke thought, in many ways that is what TealArt is about. These kinds of books have influenced my development as a writer such as it isóand have a definite impact on the kind of person I am.
On the other hand, there are books on various subjectsómost of which I could care less aboutóthat say things interestingly. Barbra Kingsolver and Anne Lamott spring instantly to mind as authors who can take a subject that I don't have much interest or care for, and tell a story about it in a way that is simply amazing. Language is an amazing art form that I don't think receives the kind of attention it disserves. I'm not talking about story telling, or persuasion. I don't mean to say that the ability of an author to make a point using language is all that amazing. Most people, given enough time, editing, and training can write good enjoyable books, stories, and other enjoyable compilations of words; but it takes some strange kind of genius to put language together in ways that have the power to affect people in profound and extraordinary ways.
In the right hands, language is capable of being witty, honest, reverent, insightful, irreverent, revealing, and comforting all in a paragraph or less; and that is only the tip of the iceberg. My hope is that I can be all of those things over the course of a single or even a career.