Showing posts from August, 2016

Random Questions

We had errands today, so lots of time in the car--enough to get beyond the necessary sharing of information, through the "hey I forgot to tell you this weird thing I heard about," on to those random questions that come up. Such as: 1. Do birds enjoy flying on muggy days, or do they like relatively dry days? 2. Is traffic heavier on the expressway or Lakeshore Drive? 3. How come we've seen only black birds today? All grackles, crows, and ravens. Well, except the pileated woodpecker. Was it because once we started noticing black birds, they were the only ones we've noticed? I love times like this. The sharing of idle speculation. The thinking aloud. The "I know this factoid, does it relate to the question?" Sometimes, after we bring in all the stuff from the car, one of us researches while the other puts the groceries away. Wondering about stuff together is fun. And I've found that what I wonder about, I write about. Especially when a to-do list

Today's Metaphor for Revision

Here's a project I should have been helping more with. Except I've been indoors, revising. But I think what I've been doing is a lot like what's going on with this tree. Here's why. * Sometimes you have a tree and what you need is firewood, so you take out a tree. * Sometimes a tree falls down and you might as well cut it up (lemonade from lemons, as it were). * Sometimes a tree hasn't quite fallen down yet but when it does, it'll destroy other stuff so you take it down and since it's down, why not make firewood. * Sometimes a tree dies and you leave it standing because the birds find it useful. * Sometimes you have a tree. The thing is, it's your tree--your life experience. You decide what to do about it. You don't even have to write about it. But if you want to write about your life experience, sometimes you have to revise the hell out of your original work. Or so I've found. The work is improving in its new fo

When It's Ajar

When IS a door not a door? When I'm revising. At least at this point in the process. In On Writing , Stephen King said, "Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open." Meaning, write "for yourself" until you get it as right as you can, then think about how other people might read it. In relation to my (APPARENTLY NEVER-ENDING) revision projects , by his definition my door is still closed. But by my definition--anything that comes after the throes of creation, any time I can return to a draft with slightly jaundiced eyes--my door is ajar. I'm certainly not thinking, "Who would ever publish this?" or "Where should I submit this?" or "What's the word count for that contest again?" All "door open" questions. But I am thinking, "What does a reader who doesn't know me need to know in order to care about the story I'm telling?" And, "Oh, by the way, is this even a story?" So

The Doldrums

I'm revising a couple of things. Okay, several things. And by "revision" I mean a wide range of things, from "more" (writing new material to see if it broadens the emotional range I'm going for) to "less" (reading aloud to ensure that the words I'm using are the ones I actually mean). Sometimes I want to throw papers in the air. Most of what I'm working on is still pixels, which are more difficult to toss into the air in frustration. Also: although creativity is a messy process, not all messes actually move me forward. (Your mileage may vary here.) So to entertain myself, I tried to label this point in the revision process. I looked up "the doldrums," and learned that what I sort of thought meant "becalmed" has a lot more nuance. In fact, the doldrums ( according to Wikipedia ) include variable weather patterns--severe weather (I especially like thinking of my frustrations as "squalls") as well as those per

To Read, or Not to Read?

August brings guests. At least in this part of the world. Most rooms in our house have bookshelves and/or books lying around. Except for the guest room. Which, come to think of it, maybe should be exactly the place you leave books. Or at least reading material. Although visitors ostensibly come to VISIT, there may be times when they want to hole up in a room and read. Or there may be times when they're the only person awake and would pick up something to read. Maybe not novels--unless the guests have real problems with insomnia. But something? With that in mind, I left a couple of fresh issues of The New Yorker in the guest room. I just had another thought. We could move a bookshelf into the guest room and THAT could be the one we stock with local and regional writing. Hmmm. Not before our guests arrive, though.