Thursday, January 10, 2013

What's It About?

"What's it about?"

That's a question I find as big as a mountain, especially when someone asks it about my writing.  But I don't find it much easier to answer when discussing something I'm reading, some other writer's work.  Someone is asking me to reduce, to encapsulate, to condense, and the subject matter rarely lends itself to such.  It's hard to pack an elephant in a carry on bag.  You'll have to leave something important out.

I've just read through a few of my book reviews.  I should really call them book reactions, since that's what I'm describing.  I suppose that's a kind of review, but...not really.  How does one review a country?  That's what a good story is -- a country, a world, even a universe.  All I can tell a person is what my thoughts and feelings were at the time and what my reflections are today.

I rarely have a good handle on what it is about.

Well, sometimes I can tell, but that's most often for a story or a book that is about something.  Some books and stories are confined and precise, shallow and clear and easy to see through.  Or I see them that way.

What's it about?  What is it reasonably close to, what is it in the immediate neighborhood of?  Is it out of bed?  What is the approximation of this story?

I think it's better to just read it.

1about

 adverb \ə-ˈbat\

Definition of ABOUT

1
a : reasonably close to (about a year ago)
b : almost (about starved)
c : on the verge of —usually used with be and a following infinitive (about
 to join the army); —used with a negative to express intention or determination (about to quit)
2
: on all sides : around
3
a : in rotation
b : around the outside
5
: in the vicinity : near
6
: in the opposite direction about
about>
Origin of ABOUT
Middle English, from Old English abūtan, from 1a- + būtanoutside — more at but
First Known Use: before 12th century

Related to ABOUT

Synonyms: aroundround
Antonyms: exactlyprecisely
[+]more

2about

 preposition

Definition of ABOUT

1
: in a circle around : on every side of : around
2
a : in the immediate neighborhood of : near
b : on or near the person of
c : in the makeup of about
 him>
d : at the command of about him>
3
: engaged in about
 — T. S. Matthews>
4
a : with regard to : concerning about
 his past>
b : concerned with
c : fundamentally concerned with or directed toward  (about
 money — David Mamet)
5
: over or in different parts of
before 12th century

3about

 adjective

Definition of ABOUT

1
: moving from place to place; specifically : being out of bed
2
: around 2
1815


No comments: