I’ve realized lately that I struggle with bringing dynamism and range into my writing. But before I talk about that, let’s talk about painting. Often, I have received feedback that I need to push the range of the values in my paintings—that I need to find the blackest blacks (and whitest whites), and use it as a reference point for the other values in the piece. I’m wondering if this idea applies to writing. If it does, what are the darkest darks or whitest whites? I don’t think this idea is necessarily a call to action that every piece of writing someone produces should be digging into grisly personal details, or that the events of a piece of fiction should head into great extremes. But I have noticed a certain blandness in my writing. If my writing is a sandwich, it has frequently been a plain one, devoid of accoutrement. I want to eat write a sandwich piece that has spice, oomph—effectively, something with the dynamism that takes you from point A to point B. In this sense, I think the ideas of value and contrast in a visual medium are somewhat analogous.

Unfortunate or not, the truth is that I need to make and eat a lot more sandwiches before I’m really going to find the spices and other additions I want to improve it. The mechanics of story-telling can be discussed all day long, but if you’re not exploring the depths of your pantry (and the pantry may well be infinite), then what are you doing? You’re making the same thing for lunch every day.

I must be getting hungry.