April 30, 2010

Fine writing is like fine wine.

I’ve known some fine writers in my time. Not many, but a few.

Some have seen their works bound, bought and placed on shelves and reviewed in national magazines, some to general acclaim.

Everyone thinks they can write a book. Well, not everyone. But many people. It’s true that everyone has a story in them. Things happen in life that you just can’t make up. But not everyone has the guts or skill to write a book about it.

Fine writing is a lot like fine wine. It looks deceptively easy, but it’s a little chemistry, a little science and a whole lot of magic.

Watching pieces begin raw and awkward and then become sculpted into the equivalent of a masterpiece reminds me of the process vintners go through.

Like grapevines, the writer sits bare-naked for a period of time. A vine in February looks pretty unexceptional . looks like nothing is happening, and on the outside nothing is. But inside, things are moving, thoughts roiling, ideas being tossed around that aren’t ready to come out.

and then, buds form and over time grapes grow. That’s how ideas come out. An idea, tentative or firm, that grows into a bud and then a tiny grape.

Some grapes make it but others are plucked by birds or attacked by insects.

The winemaker tastes the grapes. He chews on them a bit and assesses the sugar content to determine if it’s time to harvest.

Then, they’re picked.

Skins and seeds remain for redwine but for white, they’re removed. Cultured yeast is added and then the mixture begins to ferment. The sugars are digested, letting of C02 and alcohol.

Poured into barrels for aging. Racked–pumped from one barrel to another, solids are removed.
Tasted periodically.

Bottled and may sit some more.

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