Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bad Neighbors

As you move along within the stream of what you have come to think of as the writing process--perhaps that should even be with capitals, as in The Writing Process--you find your impatience growing with works of other writers for which you find no overt attraction, because of the writer's style, use of language in general, and treatment of thematic material.  A considerable segment of this impatience comes from published work that is over or around your head, in that you do not get it, do not see in it what others do.  Any number of persons you admire and respect have read and enjoyed George Eliot's ramble of a novel, Middlemarch.  On the number of times you have attempted to brave it with the intent of taking it in and digesting it, you have met with the disaster of the kind of boredom that produces irritation, a sure sign the material is somehow beyond you.  You are attempting your way around this seeming butting of heads by reading into the author's Daniel Derronda, which so far engages you with its characters, its design, its style.

Material comes at you from many sources, from clients, from students, from friends, from your own curiosity, not to disregard from yourself (yes, there have been times when you have read something, yet in the belief it was from a student or a would-be client, only to discover it was from you.  How, you wondered, could you have forgotten so much?  How could such material be saved, in the literal sense of being allowed to remain and in the figurative sense of being subjected to help from you in a better mood and position than those you occupied when you wrote the offending copy.

The more you read that you enjoy, the more you sense such amounts of patience as you have to be packing its bags, preparing for a long trip.  Seeing yourself in this cusp, you are aware of the resident curmudgeon and the equally resident squatter, the dilettante, hunkering in.  Neither is a particularly good tenant, neither is all that helpful in producing work that is driven by eagerness rather than by impatience.  In a perfect world, impatience would end when it got you to your desk, primed for enthusiasm to pick up the pen or tap the electronic keyboard.

You must exercise daily to effect that delightful chemistry.

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