Beauty is one of those concepts that is hard to define. Our tastes differ, and these differences are so often evident in what we read and how we write. One may see beauty in winding, descriptive, detailed prose while others may value starkness and minimalism. So how do we define what is beautiful writing?
I believe beautiful writing is writing that speaks to the heart, that reaches out and clutches at us and says, “listen to me, breathe me in, let me wash over you.” When we write, I don’t believe we should write to appeal to someone else’s version of beauty. We should speak to what is beautiful to us. If we try to mold our words around what others believe is beautiful, then we are writing something that is essentially a lie, or a least something that is someone’s else truth rather than ours.
Since beauty is an individual notion, I want this post to be less about what I write and more about what you believe to be beautiful. So I have a challenge for you. Include a comment with what you believe is the most beautiful line you have ever read, heard, or written and explain why it speaks so deeply to you.
I’ll go first and will use an example of my own writing. This line ends the first and last chapters of my second novella and is a deeply personal piece of writing:
“She was a woman of power. She would use that power to survive and to prevail.”
What makes these two short lines beautiful to me, the reason I wrote them (and wrote them twice) is because they have so much meaning in my life. There are so many days in my life in which I feel I can no longer survive. I feel powerless to stop the waves of depression and anxiety that overtake my life. But each of those days, I have to remind myself that I can survive and I will prevail. I have each time, and I can continue to do so. That is my beauty. My beauty is found in pain. What’s yours?