Tuesday, May 13, 2014
People think writing is a physically passive pursuit. Not true. A writer is similar to a sculptor in that a certain amount of physical enthusiasm helps, elbow grease at the start. I know writers who write standing up, for example; personally, I attack the keyboard like the frustrated pianist I am.
But unlike sculptors who get to bang away at stone or something equally impersonal, writers start with nothing. We have to build something first, then destroy it, showing no mercy. Out with the was's and the is's and, painfully, even that really elegant but uninvited and totally irrelevant phrase.
The hardest thing about writing? Knowing that whatever words you put down at first will not be there at last.
Which is why I use a lot of them to begin with -- toss them about with utter abandon, bring every possible word I can think of to the party. Orgy! Orgy! Later, it's my job to hate what we've done. That's called editing. Or shame. Sometimes both.
I try to tell the words it's nothing personal, just business. "Thank you all for coming and suiting up. Atavism -- love the shoes. Unfortunately, most of you didn't make the cut, but please try again. Because and It, you made the team; the rest of you are free to go."
Sometimes you chip away at your monster and end up with something pleasing. Other times, you chip, chip, chip and end up with nothing. You just don't know how things will turn out -- you might turn a sow's ear into a silk purse, or that sow's ear might be a sow's ear after all.
In which case, you try again. I meant to write about Frognerparken. I'll try again.