The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Thesis Blues pt.12

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I’ve been itching to get through the first draft of this story; the itch has been made all the more unscratchable because there is still so much to do and I can’t quite envision all of it. But thinking about the itch makes me want to scratch it worse than ever; it’s that same itch you have on the underside of your forearm after you broke your arm and it’s encased in plaster from elbow to wrist: you ain’t gonna get to it any time soon, and the most you can hope for is to have your sister or best friend slide a pencil underneath the cast and try to agitate the snertchy patch of skin enough to alleviate the itch. It’s that same metaphorical itch a pregnant woman feels in the third trimester after she has wobbled around all broad-sided and bloated with that baby inside her and she can’t wait to see it, hold it, coo to it in a soft voice as she nurses and comforts it. It’s that same itch that makes me want to write a series of over-wrought metaphors that belabor the point and beat the reader over the head with it. That kind of itch.

So last night I took about an hour to outline the whole story on a dry-erase board on the wall of my office. I would call it my “studio,” but that term is so hipster stupid and high-minded that I just want to kick myself for using it casually, plus who the hell am I kidding? It’s a damn office. I go there to work.

I started with a column heading: What I Have. I delineated 17 sections of the story, quickly jotting down the contents of the section, the chronology of it, and the page numbers in the document. The longest section is 12 pages; the chronology moves from 2008 to 1972-1988, then 1989, 1990, and somewhere in there I reference things that happened in 1838.

The next column heading was “Things I’m working on.” I have 5 different sections under construction right now. I had to dig to the back of the document where I have stowed pieces and spare parts since last summer.

The last column heading was “What I need.” I scratched out 8 different things I need to work on; this list will continue to build as I think of things. Some items are major pieces or the story, some items are reminders to combine certain parts, break up certain parts, and consider rearranging other parts.

So now I can see a sketch of the whole damn thing. It’s a nice reminder of how far and how near I am from a complete draft.

Thank God for that dry-erase board. It’s one of the most valuable tools I have for writing. I’m always mapping things out on it, jotting down ideas, and sometimes writing huge important questions on it that I have to address. When I need to analyze the hell out of a poem, I usually write it out on the dry-erase board so I can look at the entire thing. I have some predilection with seeing the entirety of something. It helps me understand.

Maybe my dry-erase board needs a name.

P.S. I need to blog about something else. I’m thinking of doing a list about my cat.


Written by seeker70

January 28, 2009 at 12:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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