Tuesday, May 25, 2010
My eyes have been getting very tired when I work lately, so yesterday I went to the eye doctor and got my first prescription for reading glasses. The doctor told me that one eye hadn't developed all the way because it was weaker to begin with, so it just relied on the other one to do all the work. Psh, I thought. What a slacker.
And so my new glasses are supposed to stimulate my weaker eye to make it want to work harder, and cooperate with my stronger eye instead of just letting it do all the work. Who knew there could be so much drama in the ocular workplace?
All of this talk about working together to help me see better had me thinking a lot, naturally, about critique groups and how valuable they are. I realize every time I submit my work to my critique group how much I can improve my writing just because they helped me see it more clearly.
Their disorientation and confusion over what I thought was crystal clear may be disheartening at first, but it's also invaluable. It lets me see where I'm leading the reader astray in my writing. I long to be subtle and witty and evocative (my new favorite word), and yet, well, I'm not. But with help from their eyes, I might still get there.
In much the same way a dedicated group of readers can quickly identify the things that are missing, they can also see things I had no idea were there: relationships, connections, possibilities, deeper and different meanings. It's like putting a figurative magnifying glass over the essence of the story. It's a beautiful thing.
I'm grateful for all of the people and prescriptions that help me see better. What helps you see your own writing more clearly?