Sunday, August 15, 2010
First Five of Anything (5th Day of Ramzan)
"Most people are against books on writing on principle. So am I. It's ridiculous to set down rules when it comes to art. Most of the truly great artists have broken all the rules, and this is precisely what has made them great. What would have become of Beethoven's music if he's chased rules instead of inspiration - of van Gogh's paintings?" From "The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile" and then author goes on to passionately talk about crafting those "first five pages" and those "first five lines" as well. (This book by Noah Lukeman is one I'm reading with a vengeance several times over.)
Suddenly, it's occurring to me to also watch my first five lines - written or spoken...to craft them a little - care to communicate just a little better.
Sometimes lately I'm also looking at poetry - often a more natural skill of mine - to see where the beginning works.
Look at these first five lines of Rumi here
"Ants Watching a Pen Writing"
Alexander the Great went toward Qaf Mountain
and saw that it was made of pure emerald
and that it had become a ring surrounding the world,
and he was amazed at the immensity
of God's creation...
There are lots of other "First Fives" to consider - first five of a newly-becoming person's words, first five words of a joke to catch the listener; first five ingredients of a recipe; a grocery list (in case you run out of money? :)
What about considering who are your most rewarding five friends - the ones you'd like to keep around all your life? What are the five nurturing gifts of self you might offer such life blessings?
And since I'm often way to wordy, I'm working diligently on the "First Five" words trying to get a loved one's attention. Or a child's. How about the "First Five Years" we spent together with beloved ones? How might a little remembrance with one another about those early years as lovers, partners, friends, parent and child refresh our experience now?
What about the "First Five Centuries" of history? Or the last five? Or the first five years of a nation's democracy? Or of independence? What do we envision for the next five centuries, years, days, hours?
Or how about the most influential five books for you?
What about considering "Five Images" ? The first five you know you love around your home, in your garden, memory?
The number of pages, lines, images, years, words, memories doesn't matter really...for me, it's about learning how to define, select down, stick to a format.
Yet for me, the "First Five on Anything" is working well. Later, another number will be best. How do you choose artfully your few anything? What number works for you?
The very first five lines of "The Cow" in the Quran go like this:
"...This Book is not to be doubted. It is a guide for the righteous, who believe in the unseen and are steadfast in prayer; who give alms (from what God gave...); who believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before you, and have absolute faith in the life to come."
And today I want especially to consider those few engaging lines as well as the "First Five Days" of Ramzan 2010 - what have I learned personally? What are we learning across our communities? How will I apply these impressions, reflections to my relationships, prayers, my single solitary life?
Photo of lilies from internet cache (just put in "five water lilies")
Posted by CN at 7:43 AM