Thursday, August 15, 2019

How to Pack for a Writing Session

Some years back, you found the short story from Richard Bausch,a writer you've subsequently read more of, bought some of his collections, even reached to point of following him on Facebook because of his one- and two-paragraph essays about the writing craft.

Most of those essays-in-miniature strike some chord of recognition within you. Generous, patient, revealing, the essays in many ways demonstrate the themes and conditions in Bausch's writing. The biggest take-away of all is the satisfaction you get from these short paragraphs and the longer, more layered texture of his stories.

Reminds you how important for you to come away from a finished work with the sense of having shared some eavesdrop of the various aspects of you, brought to life from your interior to the status of realized characters in a story.

Bausch helps you to expand on your own sense of the multiple aspects of yourself dwelling with in, wanting their time to be heard or at the least recognized. You do so when you are at work on a new narrative and when you are seeking a way to give voice to a concept buzzing about as though it were a female mosquito and you had Type O as your blood type, human Type O being the fave snack of the female mosquito.

You begin with a kind of Twelve-Step meeting in which aspects of you come forth to introduce themselves and defend or tell the truth about some quality inherent in them that provides a visa for them into your story.  You rather like this because you can hear those dissident aspects of yourself calling out bullshit on their defense mechanisms, their excuses, their justifications.

You've also given a nod to your love of the theater by issuing casting calls, individuals interested in appearing in the drama to be built about a concept that intrigues you but which is not often clear to you. In this setting, everyone wants the lead role. Reminds you of your pre-teen student days, eager to not only supply the correct answer but as well supply supplementary information. Yes, some of your characters want to bring in more than a backstory; they wish to bring in the entire narrative, then serve as set director as well.

Many of the writers you admire produce a prose of near invisibility, taking you to the greater depths of the story, leaving you to consider other possible nuances as you chew over the emotional impact that has been bestowed upon you. 

You aspire to that invisibility. In consequence, your reading has suffered and your own writing has had to learn the newer reality of what comprises a day's work. Not all that long ago, you were thinking of a day's work in terms of words put on paper--as though that were some literary equivalent of sir Edmund Hillary's ascent--or keepable pages, both reflecting a word length rather than a word value. More often than not, the work itself reflected this vision.

As you learned earlier today, a work session involves mere sentences. You'd not wish to write an essay that required footnotes. In similar fashion, you're wary of fiction in which the narrative is overburdened with details, descriptions, and, alas, distractions.

A narrative--any narrative--does not require all that many modifiers. You still recall Graham Greene's autobiographical regret for having used one adverb: She smiled sadly. A narrative requires notional, driven individuals, following a story, which leads then into a rabbit hole from which they now struggle to escape.

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