You can paint. I can paint. You take a brush, you dip it in the paint and you spread it somewhere. Paper, canvas, whatever. But can you PAINT?
The same goes for writing. You know how to put words together. You may even know how to write them down. But can you WRITE?
What, after all, is being able to write? To me, it's communication. It's imagination. It's being able to take your reader to a different place, to totally make him or her forget the world around them, for whatever time it takes to read your words.
Shakespeare -- okay, great. Great. But very, very convoluted and boring, at least to me. Like reading the bible.
Books with grand ideas. Nah, never read War and Peace, sorry. Too exhausting.
But when I come across a good writer -- Hergé comes to mind -- I'm transfixed.
This guy meets my criteria as a good writer. Just read it.
He reminds me of possibly one of the greatest writers in the English language, Gerald Durrell. He wrote as others paint, in living color. Even though he reputedly couldn't spell worth a damn.
But what's puzzling is that he had a brother who was (and is) even more famous than he, Lawrence Durrell, who was renowned for his collection the "Alexandria Quartet."
But the differences couldn't be more striking. I picked up one of Lawrence's books and tried to read it. Call me dumb, but it was the most impenetrable, rambling nonsense that I've ever read. No humor. No storyline. No theme. Just a litany of words that went nowhere. Like he just got drunk every night and typed on his typewriter (which he most assuredly did).
Not at all like his brother, who couldn't spell. But ALSO got drunk every night and typed on his typewriter.
I sure as hell hope I can write.
But it's a rare breed nowadays.