Wednesday, September 9, 2009
WHAT BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN HAS TAUGHT ME
At the end of August, I took my oldest daughter to see the Boss in concert. Now, both my daughters have seen the singer who was the highlight of my college years.
As we watched this sixty-year-old man rock and roll, I realized that over the years Bruce had taught me two important lessons - as a writer and as a human being.
1. The human lesson is that life should be about passion. I have never seen Bruce give a concert where he didn't give his all and look as if he was enjoying himself to the fullest. As we all probably have to hold a job that pays the bills, why not search for a career that makes you rise most mornings excited about the day? Sure, Bruce has been lucky. But that luck came from hard work. And the hard work (because he loved what he was doing) probably didn't seem like hard work at all. He simply loved what he was doing and because of that love and dedication, he is good at it.
2. The second lesson I've learned from the Boss is that you have to dig deep when you're writing, and that the best images are the ones filled with emotion and soul. He is a master of taking a few words, linking them together and creating an image that makes you feel. Most poets write this way as their word choices are limited by form. But for writers of fiction, it is easy to create a piece of work that is littered with unnecessary words - words that clutter the story and cloud the emotion. So when you are revising, think hard about your every word choice and ask yourself, "Is this word necessary?" and "How can I make my reader feel what I am trying to relate?"
Following your passion and digging deep when you're writing - not bad lessons at all from a man who at sixty is still going strong!