Pay Attention

Susan Sontag’s reply to what a writer ought to do is: “Several things. Love words, agonize over sentences. And pay attention to the world.”

And she continues: “To tell a story is to say: this is the important story. It is to reduce the spread and simultaneity of everything to something linear, a path.”

Yes, we writers distill words and in some cases, distill languages. We take in a world of stories; a world of experiences; and a world of relations, and we pay attention. To reduce all this input to our story, to our outlook, and to our moral judgment is what we do.

This is hard work. And with the knowledge of two languages as in my case – Danish and English – the difficulty goes up several notches. Do I want to tell my story in Danish or in English? How will my story best be heard? To speak a language, to listen to a language is all about sound.

I want my sound to be heard; the sonority of my words. The Danish word for sound is klang – a word pronounced with a deep sounding a – therefore, I would translate klang with sonorous tone. The Danish word klang rings in my ears when I hear it while the English word sound falls flat.

Sometimes I may be more of a linguist than storyteller, but the sounds of words and the specific use of words is what intrigues me. Now, I’m in a place where plot, characters, conflict, and climax is not enough for my storytelling.

My blogs this year will be inspired by other writers and what they say. In January I was inspired by Søren Kierkegaard and Susan Sontag.


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