Before you can let anything beyond a personal email go off to its recipient and, in this context, some kind of publication, two elements must be present, discovery and surprise. You must discover something, even the merest connection to another person, place, or thing, and you must be surprised by something within the text or the absence of something you notice when rereading the text.
Monday, February 1, 2016
The two qualities often walk hand in hand; you are surprised by a discovery, even though you were looking at the outset for a discovery. The simple fact of looking for a discovery does not guarantee you will find one. Often, when you do make a discovery, it comes as a surprise because you were not expecting the discovery to come from a subject you thought you were well acquainted with.
You equate discovery with the appearance of some information in what you've written that you were not consciously aware of seeing. Quite often, discovery puts you in a celebratory mood. Discovering evidence that you were aware of something impressive is, of itself, impressive. Don't take this the wrong way by assuming you spend much of your time in a jaded, blasé frame of being.
Rather, you so enjoy the discovery of things that you sometimes fret about having them. These are judgmental matters, where you may fear you have discovered to your limit, are perhaps given to the desperation of someone who senses he is in a slump, with a long dry spell between discoveries.
These are judgmental matters, a stern reminder of the dangers of overthinking rather than leaping onto any passing train of thought, rather than remaining in place. Once you begin composing, you're figuratively on the train, building platforms that extend you over some gaping holes in your education and imagination, and isn't that what imagination and composition are all about in the first place, getting you over the chasms of your intellectual, emotional, or combined chasms.
You believe you write in order to give yourself the impression of being a passenger in an ongoing journey, all of which is background to the dialogue you're having with the various aspects of yourself. You encourage the concept of keeping your interior monologue as a dialogue, which is brotherly but not conversational. For some while, you were in effect trying to carry on Socratic dialogues with yourself, but that got you nowhere. Even though you're fond of yourself, like yourself, that doesn't mean you need to be politically correct. No, you can tell yourself. Not that. This. You can still be friends after such an exchange.
Whatever gave you the idea that wold work? is another kind of question you can and do ask yourself when a best-laid scheme goes awry. Still no cause for a squabble. Trouble arises only when one aspect of you elects himself CEO, then begins berating you by calling you names rather than questioning strategy . You played by those rules back in the past. They didn't work out very well, leaving you with parts of yourself who were not on speaking terms with other parts.
When you are on the precipice of taking some great leap, the last thing you want to hear is a loud, personal voice, warning you off and questioning your sanity, your intelligence, and your worth as a human being is an attack. You want concern or agreement or support or approbation, but you do not want to be dissed.
You may be the one who raises the issue after the fact of some leap or other you've taken. Maybe to the extent of admitting, Well, that certainly didn't work, whereupon the others would not in agreement. One of them might even suggest a beer or having another shot at the activity.
The discovery is that you don't want to make yourself feel bad. Wrong, yes. At sea, yes, even interested in consultation. It is one thing for your characters to be made to feel bad as a result of their encounters with other characters, but you should always know where you stand with yourself, and your characters.
Posted by Shelly Lowenkopf at 9:05 PM