On Beowulf, Brian Wilson and Improving One’s Writing Skills

Well, this year so far I’ve been a slow reader, having only read the epic, old English poem beowulfBeowulf (just finished it) and Toni Morrison’s Home.

My reading output has to increase, especially since this year I plan on reading Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, Don Quixote and Paradise Lost.

That’s quite a list, but it’s important for me if I want my writing to grow. I’ve been feeling lately that my literary tool box is a bit sparse; i.e. I need to increase my vocabulary and study the literary greats more.

In my weird mind I suddenly want to be the female literary version of the very musically gifted Brian Wilson, minus the lost years. Wilson amazes me, astounds me, but he obviously knew what he was doing, too. His musical tool box, in other words, was pretty full.

Brian Wilson excelled at his music; writers should excel at their craft

Brian Wilson excelled at his music; writers should excel at their craft

So I’ve had to ask myself, “Do I know what I’m doing when it comes to writing?”

Not as much as I’d like to.

Anyway, Beowulf was an interesting read; a bit hard and confusing in places, but then surprisingly clear and vivid in other places.

What I both loved and hated the most was the sort of staccato way the text is written. There were great moments in the piece such as, “the center of his life—would soon be delivered—from its locked flesh-home” when describing someone about to die, to “now the worm likes cooling” when describing the death of a dragon, to “the sun swung low” describing the coming dusk.

I also the grandeur of Beowulf. And since I’m writing about a larger-than-life warrior myself, it was nice to read what those who came before me had to say about warriors.

Now I’m off to read Game of Thrones.

Long live great books!


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