I had a writing professor who recommended copying, literally, tangibly, work by authors whose style most lights your writing fuse. Pick an author, prop open a book, lay it next to the laptop, and type the words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters until, I suppose, some sort of osmosis (and muscle memory?) occurs. The professor is more a hardboiled fiction guy, so Elmore Leonard is an author whose dialogue, voice, rhythm, pace, and word choice he might be likely to transcribe in this exercise. When I finally get around to trying it for literary purposes, you’ll find me with David Mitchell or Anne Lamott next to my computer.
But this morning, the following words from the book open on my lap begged for this transcription treatment. In an attempt to absorb the heart of the words into my cells, I will type them out here. I hope it works. Today, it’s my next right thing.
Lord, you have assigned me my portion, and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices [my tongue rejoices? what does that even look like? how does that sound? it’s on me to figure it out!]; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.*