Sunday, May 29, 2011

Going through the process

Writing is for me (and for everyone?) a scattered, fragmented business. To stitch multiple thoughts into a coherent, linked sequence actually goes against the grain; the best that you can hope for, eventually, is a patchwork quilt. So I don’t worry about an overall structure. Nothing so formalized. I reason that if an overall gestalt is to materialize, then it will arrive later—in due course and in good time.

What I did was write a little every day. I made it a habit, devoting a year or two to the task, coming up with maybe a couple of hundred vignettes. I wanted them to be short enough to be read at a sitting. I set out to accumulate not a stream of consciousness but a good number of thought-splashes: free-standing yet loosely connected brain farts. I felt that this approach mirrored the nature of my cogitation, which is to muse upon one random point at a time.

I freely flung upon the page whatever surfaced in my consciousness. Willy-nilly, onto the screen I heaved it. I plunged in, purged my inner self, and then stirred the mess around. I looked for meaning in the tea-leaves and entrails. I recorded anything and everything that left an imprint on my brain, and tried to make sense of it. Lifting myself by the bootstraps, I educated myself into a higher plane of learning.

Having daub-slapped onto the canvas my mental deliberations, I left them to mature—that was my system. Later, I returned to tweak, rewrite and delete. Sometimes, if I felt that I was onto something, and I’d expand that section afterwards. All very loose and fast.

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