Thursday, March 19, 2009


Last week, Jacques Conejo left this comment on the blog:

I think it would be interesting to have a little insight into the writing process that produced stories like "The Cards" and the stories about the "Bicyclists".

Saw/heard Salman Rushdie speak last night.... As a person enamoured of writing it was interesting to hear his views on writing and how it works in him...

Think you'd share a little bit (or a lot) on the process for you that produces your writing?

You've been writing a lot for a long time... What's your perspective on that experience? What would you urge or dissuade others to do or believe about the power of the written word?


First, I’d like to welcome Jacques back from his journey! He might have already left on his next one for all I know, so I hope this message reaches him somehow!

My writing process: In addition to having an entertaining mind that never runs out of things to say, one of my secrets is that I’m as good an editor as writer. The two processes are completely different: bringing it out of the "void" in the first place, and then honing it until the final product looks like I just sat down and effortlessly wrote a perfect first draft... which is an illusion, of course. Many writers lack the ability to edit their own work, which puts them at a disadvantage.

Perspective on writing: I’m glad I did it. Ultimately, I’m disappointed that such a fascinating spirit/muse got so little exposure. But how could it have been otherwise? My writing was a product of an era that was fading away even as we were living it. It’s a totally different world now: we are already living the first stages of the Apocalypse. Holistic viewpoints, including mine, were consistently marginalized, which was too bad for the planet. Late-empire global "civilization" was created by the most aggressive members of our species, which resulted in decades of wildly skewed behavior that has pushed our planet beyond the tipping point.

The power of the written word: These days, the written word has remarkably little power, except for the minority who still read in a serious way. We’re so overwhelmed with trivial and false information, spread across every high-tech communication channel, it’s easy to miss what’s really important. What power the written word once had as a medium of mass communication has been usurped by TV and the self-important morons that inhabit it. We are reverting to a pre-literate culture, in which intelligence and the play of concepts has an increasingly diminished role. These days, writing is essentially a minor form of entertainment. The Earth is being destroyed before our helpless eyes, and the true place of writing – and all human activities -- will soon be made manifest.

Maybe in a future post I’ll talk a little bit about my stories, most of which were written between 1973-88, a more benign era in some ways.

Keep those questions coming, Jacques!


Anonymous Jacques Conejo said...

Great Photos - all of em... thanks for the great "art" shots and the ongoing photo-log of how it's done on the homestead...

In reference to your writing... It seems you put the greatest emphasis on your ability to edit. And, yes it does seem that what you release after your process works, is seamless and effortless... As you point out, that's an illusion, but an illusion that for the reader is delightful to experience.

So editing huh? That's the key? Would you describe that as saying more with less. Not belaboring any point or perspective? Right, here I go boring deeper into the sliced and diced analysis of your organic process.

It seems that your writing is almost "jaunty", though the subject matter can be, and often is, of great gravity. Your stories, flights of fancy particularly, seems to pop and bounce along in a reader friendly, stimulating and naturally welcoming pace and rhythm.

As a reader, it's like sitting on the side of a long descending country dirt road at dawn and watching the curious approach of a giant red rubber ball, appearing over the rise at the top of the hill. It comes from nowhere, without requiring explanation or justification, in long, slow, perfectly articulated arcs, approaching the reader sitting quietly on a log at the side of the road, passes and continues on it's own adventure until it's out of sight. It doesn't beg your participation or approval. It's text is clear, it's sub-text of gravity and inertia tickles the subconscious. You don't know when or where it's journey started or when or where it will end. It's purely an unanticipated witnessing of an adventure in giant red ball freedom. You simply sit in a state of curious wonder with a grin on your face watching it's moments unfold as it passes by.

I know that everyone has a style. Yours is particularly fresh, to choose a term... It always seems to appear, already on a roll, from some point of unseen initiation, and to keep rolling until it's out of sight. And though out of sight, it leaves the reader with the impression that the story rolls on, past the point at which you stop telling it... As though what one reads is a momentary focus, drawn by you the writer to an endless story of fascinating significance. I admire that quality. To me there's a certain humility and awe in that. The storyteller is not in the way of the story. Neither observer nor initiator is the point of focus. That giant, bouncing, floating, red ball is everything. It's a quality of writing that's a joy for readers to experience.

So, thanks for the tip on editing. I think the world could easily hold up under some more revelation of your writing process.

Again, the photos are always great and thanks for your continued contribution to the human experience....


7:32 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home