Sunday, December 22, 2013

When Kids--Well, Shortstories--Leave Home

When a thing does not seem to work or to fit it, the best strategy, you've learned,is to write around it.

When a thing wants in, despite all your efforts to keep it out, the best strategy is to leave it, then move on.

Movement is important because, as you have come to realize, movement is forward process, which is to say, movement is getting things down.  Another perhaps applies here.  Perhaps to set the pace, and by its cadence, remind you of things that need to happen as well as necessary details.

Soon, you will go back with  thoughts and remedies,  The process will be at work, trying to reach the right pitch of voice,the right details in and the distracting details gone, sent away.

You are in the midst of a sobering experience, reviewing work you'd not seen for a time.  You had warm memories about the works.  They are your favorite form.  You thought you'd seen them through their awkward stages, but of course you'd once thought you'd seen yourself through awkward stages.

The same things work for you that work for them; stages come in like fresh tides.  They recede when you have had an opportunity to observe and to grow.

Sometimes your stages play tricks on you.  Having noted some quirk or awkwardness, you set out to show it better ways, which immediately reveal to you how serious you've become.  Can't you lighten up a bit?

There is something to be had for growth, for being able to read for paragraphs on end without once finding a clinker or soft spot, only to be arrested by a word or some ache-producing trope as having begun a sentence--any sentence--with the word "it."  "It" was cold.  "It" was raining.  "It" was to be expected.

A number of your notebooks are filled with lists of words you swear you will not use again.  Such lists did not come from one moment of composition, when you'd asked yourself to compile all the words you believed were the literary equivalent of empty calories.  Very.  Not an easy word to describe and yet...

Suddenly...

Somewhat.

Just, in particular used with as or when.  Just as...Just when.

Many adverbs that bloat rather than modify.

The use of "and" to string independent clauses together, a risk with the potential of causing the whole, elongated sentence to blur instead of illuminate.

They are good kids, these stories, even the two or three the publisher of your forthcoming collection did not like to the point of telling you, pick twelve stories out of this batch, but do not include the following stories in the twelve.

First thing you are going to do when you get the twelve you've chosen showered and trimmed, with an occasional tuck or addition here and there, is to go back to the ones the publisher wanted to drown, open these up for a close look at why someone who is hung-ho for publishing you in the first place should dislike these, all of which found pretty decent homes.

Post a Comment