Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sorting Things out

Over the course of your composing activity, you have been any number of writing types, ranging in output from one who was so taken with the fun and pleasure of composition that he reckoned doing so was easy. 

Soon, but not soon enough, the awareness began to fall on you as a rain or snow storm descends on a traveler who is unprepared for variations in the norm. You learned in fact that the norm is an abstraction; snow and rain are the stages on which story is set.

Even when writing was seeming to become easier to deal with, you felt the warning detectors going off with a sound much like the braying of a jackass.


In a matter of weeks, you'd gone from a carefree writer to one who was beset. You'd gone from being an actor who'd learned the lines for Falstaff, only to discover the story at hand was Lear.

Even at that desolate moment, you understood how far you were in any sense from rescue or help; you were unable, of course, to see yourself now. Even if you were able to see yourself now as a form of consolation prize, there's little you could have thought to do as you sped you way to this.

You are the sort of writer who enjoys the first draft with a ruled legal pad and a fountain pen. Computer first drafts work, but you often find yourself writing a scene in a pad, then placing it in the computer file.

You are the sort of writer who frequently discovered he started too soon or too late, based on your experience of seeing how final drafts often begin in places and points of view you never anticipated.

You are the sort of writer who discovers in some stack of materials he has come to regard as convenience files a five- or six page entry into a scene that seems so foreign and yet intriguing that you begin to wonder from whom you were copying and what salient aspect of dramatic opening velocity you were trying to teach yourself.

You are the sort of writer who believes his understanding of a story situation will make his future writing easier even though, across the bridge of time, this has not been demonstrated to him.

Against all contrary evidence, you are the sort of writer who believes he has learned from all his previous exercises and as a consequence does not have to learn how to tell a story with each new venture.


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