Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday (100x26)

5:49 on Friday, and I’m caught on the cusp of the transition between a week when there were way too many things going on and a long weekend promising at least a few empty spaces. I’d feel better if I had a better topic, but, as I keep telling my students, you have to write what it is given to you to write, then come back later and try to figure out what to do with it. At this moment, that’s me, these words, and those birds outside getting their licks in before the sun finally sinks into the Pacific.

Process Reflection: Not very ambitious, I admit: a freewrite, a process piece. The work, such as it was, involved fooling around with the wording to bring the piece in at exactly one hundred words. First I was 21 words over, then eight under, then five over again. There’s something to be said for even arbitrary formal constraints, because they make you pay a different kind of attention to which words you use and which order you use them in. It's the kind of tinkering that Raymond Carver claimed to enjoy: putting the commas back in and taking them back out again. While you do that, the world turns. Now, twenty minutes later, it’s almost dark, and quiet: the birds have gone to wherever birds go when the sun goes down. But I’m still here, pecking away, cutting and pasting, adding and subtracting, trying to get this one small thing right.

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