Sunday, May 4, 2014

Write crazy…edit crazier

A few sips of coffee in the a.m. and writing. 

Geez, does anyone make any caffeinated sense at that hour? I know it took me two minutes to type these few lines. My radius, ulna, and phalanges will feel boneless until halfway through my second cup. (And don’t be impressed that I knew the proper names for the innards of my arm and fingers; I picked those up from episodes of BONES)

I’m probably the worst writer in the morning, though other writers have told me that those brain-dead moments in the morning can be the most productive; you’re cerebral’s not exactly sieve-like, and you never know what you’ll come up with unless you just do it.

Personally, the only thing that comes to mind is Hemingway’s quote, “Write drunk, edit sober.” 

But even with the brunch hour fog I’m attempting to keyboard through, I’ve always kept in mind the collective advice of my writing class professors; just write. Write and write and write…and edit later. 

And so I write, whether or not it makes any sense. I don’t just want to do it. I need to do it.

In 'Letters to a Young Poet,' Rainer Maria Rilke had been asked advice by a novice writer. Rilke wrote back to tell him that, though he was flattered, his advice would be futile.

“There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.”

Um…well, unlike a journalist who covers a Ukrainian uprising fraught with peril, I’ve never felt the need to risk my life for my writing—short of writing a memoir. 

I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve lived in a country where I can write any old thing I like, and publish it within a blog without threat of infidelism. (And being the Gemini writer that I am, I took a moment to verify that was even a word. I’ve looked up eight websites, and so far they can only tell me how many syllables are used)

There are days where I do need a good prompt. The ‘dictionary-flip-word-prompt’ I practice is when I’m especially grasping to write, but have no clue what to write. Other times I fall back on writing or editing my woefully unfinished manuscripts. Does that make me the ‘tortured artist’? No idea, really. But it’s fun to be thought of as an ‘eccentric writer’. 

I think even the word ‘eccentric’ is widely known as allowing any number of idiosyncrasies some of us just can’t help. My roomies have had a chuckle or a head-shake over mine:

* Consuming only cold-n-crisp veggies, as I find steamed to be nauseating.
* Liking the color purple, but refusing to wear it.
* Clipping Sunday paper coupons for things I’m so sure I’ll buy, but never do.
* Rum-n-Coke? Try Rum-n-Dr. Pepper. 
* Only being able to sleep for five hours at a time.
* Typing, and printing my Last Will & Statements, three hours before going into surgery.
* Reading the first one-hundred pages of a great book, but putting it down, close by, and not managing to finish it.
* Keeping four flash-drives that all hold the same information, because I’m paranoid about loss, destruction, or accidentally-deleted files…what writer doesn’t dread that?

Personally, I think our eccentricities keep us interesting beings. Artists, musicians, photographers, writers…we’re all adventure-seekers in our own oddball way. 

Typing my way through a rainy Oregon morning, consuming my second cup of coffee…is that eccentric? Is it eccentric to have completely changed the theme of this entry halfway through? 

I’m not sure, but maybe I should take Hemingway’s advice in reverse; write sober, and edit drunk. 

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