Saturday, May 31, 2008


Within such disciplines as dance, musicianship, drawing, fine art painting, watercolor,photography,and acting, the outstanding exception to the rule is the lack of practice.

My observant experience as writer, editor, and teacher is that the line is frequently drawn between these worthies and writers so far as practice is concerned. My take is that fully fifty percent of writers don't consider practice as all; they write when inspired, approach revision or response to editorial comment with the beginnings of a chip on their shoulder if not defensiveness on their mind.

The other fifty percent are at their computer or notepad or legal pad or some other form of capturing words on a regular basis because this affliction is so real to them that they daydream about perfecting its implications.

One of the most direct and profitable ways of practice is through the blog. Sentences need not be complete, paragraphs need not adhere to rules (To this day I recall a teacher from junior high school announcing that paragraphs should not begin with And or but.), nor do paragraphs necessarily require a topic sentence, nor do blog posts require a nod to social praxis.

Thinking about the other fifty percent, the writers of my observation who do not wish to practice or revise or send forth their own work or take steps to improve their craft would be analogous to a dancer who would not rehearse, a musician who would not practice, an actor who shuns rehearsal and seeks only to perform right out of the box, an artist who does not make sketches.

The blog is a gift to the writer, an opportunity not only to practice but to keep a record of it for future reference, which is to say for added development, addition, enhancement.

A typical blog post qua practice could easily begin, I wonder how this would work: (and then a noun and a verb and off we go).

It is easy for me to say these things, I am thankful to report; my pile of journals and notebooks fills several drawers, some of which are so painful to look at that I am glad in the long run I have saved them because they serve as an evidence of my growth. In many ways I am the eighteen and nineteen-year-old who began keeping records of his practice, my biggest regret that I did not see fit to keep the entire record. Somewhere out in the water tower is a box of older writings I have not looked at since having been ensconced here on Hot Springs Road some ten years ago. Soon Summer will be upon me and I will seek out these boxes and at the very least smooth the pages out and arrange some sort of inside-the-house resting place. Meanwhile, even as the press of time surges upon me, I will nevertheless find some time during the day to practice if only to serve notice to that future day when I regard these exercises that I have truly moved along a path rather than resorted to diary-like notations.

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