A brief survey of writing stategies

What were the ‘periods’ he went through… ? tried to think. There was the write-as-much-as-you-can-period, ten pages a day like Dostoyevsky, Trilling was it, and watch as “beneath the dull paper mass a mighty fire rages within.” Unexpectedly from out of the dull soggy thatch two meager words scrape and catch flame, inspiring the whole into mighty conflagration!

( Never wrote more than 1/2 antireciprocal “mot-wrong” flaubert pages a day during the “writing for real period”;;)

Then there was the Only Read period: don’t even bother with writing — you can’t– and writers, famously devoid of volition, are, like function machines, only capable of determining what will be put into them, not what will come out or when. Therefore, perform such a mass of reading that the dark diamond must emerge and, obedient to a power not your own, you simply “wake” to find yourself writing.

(The results exactly resemble those of the write-as-much-as-you-can period.)

Then the “consolidation period”: despite all you’ve written and read to this point (though a fraction of what it needs to be), what have you achieved? what but fragments hard-ended as rocks which, fragmentary and undeveloping, will never do more than begin. Give up therefore and sit within a circle, unmoving like a monk, until the thread that runs through all you’ve done is plucked at (out?) or until you’ve found that natural kernel of yourself that alone is proof of poetic imagination — or just smash these blasted things together! Because surely they must — somehow — go — together . . .

Passing in the meantime: discarded police tape in the curbside, which has collected glass clippings from the previous day’s rain; black presumably non dangerous wires hanging from the sun drenched pole (like a redwood for the enduring system it indicates); trying to memorize the serial numbers of a lampost as I pass and getting mixed up about it before I’ve even looked away (as if memory had garbled the perception that created it) ; in my imagination –really an anti-imagination– a hysterical voice absurdly taking a woman to task for opening her car door and pouring out liquid on the street (“it’s only water” “yes — but your backwash” — ridiculous — space junk– my imagination at its most inadvertent and extraneous) I had seen someone maybe months ago pour out some water from their car around this spot and it was only some non-naturally occurring moisture in the same area this day that gave to my mind the excuse for its grotesquerie.

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