Writing Dialogue

There’s this odd word gnomon in James Joyce’s story “The Sisters” which is used in the mathematical manner: it’s a way of knowing a physical void by what is visible. That returns to that notion of understanding ourselves as creatures of change: not full and certainly not complete.

A writer once pointed out to me the gnomon is a way of writing dialogue, too. Truest dialogue always reflects the sub-story of what we’re not saying. We live in worlds of stories we create: the spoken story we share, and then all those winding sub-stories beneath.

Isn’t that partly what makes us so infuriating to each other at times, and, conversely, also so intoxicatingly fascinating? Behold, then, the strawberries, the nasturtiums, sun rising through a scrim of fog, the Milky Way arching through the black of a moonless night – this exquisite world we inhabit – and us, with our endless stories…. essence of our humanity.

 If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing.

–Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon


first berries from our garden

About Brett Ann Stanciu

A writer and sugarmaker, Brett Ann lives with her two daughters in stony soil Vermont. Her novel HIDDEN VIEW was published by Green Writers Press in the fall of 2015. Let my writing speak for itself.
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