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Friday, May 7, 2010

Rewriting rather than ranting or spewing. Part 3

Rewriting Version 3 (Version 2 is lost!)


Writing Blogs in A Writerly Manner; Mocking Gallery Be Damned.


Haruki Murakami, in his reent memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, said that he has difficulty doing readings in Japanese. He writes in Japanese and for him every word is important. It is of such importance, not only in meaning but in who its addressing that he finds it near impossible to read to a group of people in his native Japanese. In other languages he is at ease.

I don’t know how true that is in my own writing. Yet I love the emotion. The intention of precision and concentration to the craft is loud and clear. However, there is the fluid embrace of chance that I love in many authors and in my own writing that seems more natural and essentially important to me. I'm sure most writing is a mix of intention and chance. The rewrite belongs as much to both as the original. The truth is I may love it simply for its distance from me.

I had read What I Talk About... on the eve of my birthday. The experiment to alter my blog writing with more of an effort at rewriting and thus to determine if a writer owes it to herself to rewrite, sprung up a few days later. The books rhythm carried me. It brought to the front the training that goes into quests and grand endeavors. It shied not from embracing the solitary nature of the craft. I must say I do not agree with all that H.M.. said, but with the spirit of his words, I am in total accord. The spirit is what one has to work it.


So, now nine days later, my realization of  Haruki Murakami's   inspiration is what finally returns me back to the project. 

Many people write clearly and convey their meanings without doubt. Is that my main purpose? I think not. The purpose might be discovery. Its not simply communication. It's a discovery that I cannot even comprehend fully and that perhaps contains importance for the others who might read it, an importance that I hope for even though I cannot quite fathom it. It is the importance of the words of my favorite authors, who have left their traces indelible on my soul.

Here where I blog, on poonamisbloggingonforyou, (to date) I free write. I let my thoughts flow with the most casual attention to grammar or style or content. I publish my thoughts as camera veritas, roll 'em and wrap ‘em and serve ‘em! That's blogging. Or is it. Is it instead comprable to journalling. I have respect for journalling. However there is the private private journal and then the crafted memoirish writing that attempts to get somewhere. So, my blogging is less than acceptable, as it is in such a public sphere and should be more polished, more crafty. Would it still retain the heartfelt, my guts on the page? There would have to be some blood.

I call myself a writer. I do. (Dare the mocking gallery in the recesses of my mind its guffaw.)  And as a writer I know the importance of the rewrite. My ex partner was always impressing on me the huge difference in the second draft, at times a total new animal, over the first. That importance is for the reader, even if the only reader is myself, I guess.

Before the rewrite happens there is the oft disregarded element of the read. You read what you wrote. That first read, with a moment's distance, after the computer is closed or the notebook shut, that is where the writer visits the writing for the first time. The read is where the grand AHA! or AHA!s come. They are caught slumbering in the midst of a paragraph or leaping from the form of the whole. “Here's the poetry of this trip. Come now,” says the read, "follow the AHAs."

Along with the AHA!s come the OH NOs! I’d be a liar of the first degree if I left that out. My niggling yet nefarious nemesis in this enterprise has been a solid conviction that the experiment will yield no Version other than the first. There has been the insistence that this exercise is esoteric and unnecessary. Why do this and not revisit the poems and stories that might actually get somewhere.

So in the midst of these AHA!S and OH NOs I write Version 2 and it lived here a while until I tried a short cut route to getting to Version 3.

After the read, the real tools of the modern writer's trade enter the scene: the cut and pastes; the moving of chunks of text; the blending of metaphors and meters; the underlining or shading back of rhythm and rhyme; the dusting of a final seal of talcum that makes every word sing the same song even as it plays counter to its neighbor.  They may not be here yet. They may come out later still. I feel them on their way. They will swoop in with their expertise and flamboyantly sculpt us into gorgeous.

Here in Version 3 we have definitely still to be dusted. Done and dusted.

Or any case that is the dream. We are far from done from this experiment.

What the first version is, is in fact our hypothesis: We are testing by one very unscientific example to see if re-writing does indeed enhance the piece. Our hypothesis is that it does. The experiment is to be determined by comparing the first version, which is a conception of the contrasts of free write and rewrite with later ones. Every version after that, including lost versions are craft.

Let the comparisons begin.

Is this third version becoming more succulent or losing all flavor?




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