In the past—and even still today—literature professors and book critics and whatnot feed writers a line about how florid, purple phrasing makes for “high” literature. In most cases, I see it as an impediment to the story. When it takes so long to even understand what the author is trying to say, you don’t have time to see the bigger picture or the story as a whole.
Obviously, there are writers whose prose is breathtakingly beautiful but still simple in that they don’t use excess words to convey an image. This summer I started reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making but didn’t finish as I got bogged down with life. This is not a book to whip through, but on to save for an undisturbed rainy day. The prose in it is extraordinary, something I’ve rarely seen in the best of literature, and it’s a book written for children.
That’s what I hope to accomplish with my writing, for the language to be a surprising and delightful accompaniment, an added spritz of scent, rather than heavy-handed writing that chokes the reader like the perfume counter at the mall after somebody tests every. single. perfume.