Friday, September 21, 2012
Writing: The Lost Chord
Adelaide Proctor wrote the words to a beautiful song (music by Sir Arthur Sullivan of Gilbert & Sullivan fame). The title is The Lost Chord, and although some of you may be too young to have ever heard it, I strongly recommend you check it out. The line that sticks with me is "...But I struck one chord of music like the sound of a great Amen." The gist of the song is that, while letting my fingers run over the organ's keys, I hit a chord like no other ever heard. Although I couldn't reproduce it, maybe I'll hear it again in heaven.
Writing's like that. I know writers who work on the same novel for years, trying to make it the writing equivalent of that lost chord. Sometimes we just have to settle for "as good as I can make it." But we all strive to achieve work that "sounds like a great Amen."
Writers, how long do you work on something before deciding it's not going to be perfect? Readers, have you ever read a scene or even a paragraph that's the literary equivalent of the lost chord.
(photo courtesy James Joyce music)