A Writer & Her Pencil

FullSizeRender-1This page, which is in an over-sized art book, 11 x 14, is one of two pages plus a bit more. The numbers in circles are for chapters, and the squiggles in the clumps represent events from each chapter. I made columns, I suppose, because I like lists, and it’s in pencil, the writer’s friend. I use a pen for almost all of my writing, but this project is, for me, a sketch, a thing likely to be erased and moved. Who doesn’t love that successful push-pull of an eraser on the page. Ziiiiip. Gone in the dust.

My goal here was to keep the analytical part of my brain awake and attending to editorial needs, such as character development, loose ends gone astray, mood shifts, and more. I also wanted a way to SEE the book. In the old days – does anyone do it any longer? – I’d take pages of a long piece and spread them on the floor in a circle of cake-walk numbers so I could glance at the big picture by walking around and then sit and scoot along. It helped me view the order of things, pace how the piece was unfolding – just see the whole visual! Our friends, the computers, show us half a page at a time or two pages, with some effort, but that’s not much. I’m amazed at how accustomed I am to that limit and reminded again of the reasons to write by hand, on sheets that can be separated and laid in a circle.

But this book’s on the computer (I printed the whole thing, but that’s for another day.) The Post-its signal omissions, because even when I consider a piece finished, it apparently occupies a well-lit room in my brain where the thing is still under discussion, and a few of the little participating voices make it into my consciousness to suggest improvements.


About Carolyn

I live in Washington, D.C., write, teach, try to eat the requisite fruits and veggies daily, and avoid caffeine after 2 pm. I wonder about things a lot -- like why "pretty" means "pretty" and "not so much" and if I can ever perfect the single-portion, no-knead, daily baguette and how many people realize that Beau Brummel had a lot to do with our desire to bathe daily -- those of us who do in fact "take the daily."
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