18 August 2010
Our mantra in fifth grade writing class comes from Harrison ... "KEEP IT VIVID." We try to carefully choose settings, characters, actions -- words -- that, as one student said last year, "grab the reader by the throat."
It takes time. It is a process.
Stillness can help, but some need to pace or bob. Either way it's contemplation and is work that needs to be done. Creative work is still work.
"Think about what you're thinking about."
"Tell the tale you'd like to be told."
"Face the white bull that is the blank page of paper" - Ernest Hemingway
Tim O'Brien advises here.
When you read a manuscript that has been damaged by water, fire, light, or just the passing of the years, your eye needs to study not just the shape of the letters but other marks of production. The speed of the pen. The pressure of the hand on the page. Breaks and releases in the flow. You must relax. Think of nothing. Until you wake into a dream where you are at once a pen flying over vellum and the vellum itself with the touch of the ink tickling your surface. Then you can read it. The intention of the writer, his thoughts, his hesitations, his longings and his meaning. You can read as clearly as if you were the very candlelight illuminating the page as the pen speeds over it.
I'm in the clutches!