Thursday, August 19, 2010

This is the first entry in my blog-a-day commitment. I have started a timer and am now staring intently at my keyboard (No, I do not adhere to the “correct” way of typing, where you look at the screen and don’t watch your hands… This is why so many piano teachers fired me when I was a kid… yes, fired ME…) The idea is a simple one. I will do three 5-minute rounds of work on each entry.

Round 1 is 5 minutes of free writing. This is the kind of writing I learned to do by reading Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones many years ago. The basic practice is to set a timer and just write. You keep the words flowing (in the original version, written before there were ubiquitous desktop publishers everywhere and the nation’s handwriting skills had begun to collectively deteriorate—she instructed to “keep the pen moving.” Pen… How cute…) Then you just keep writing, and writing and you don’t stop until the round is over. It can be a minute or five minutes or ten or 30 or an hour or whatever… You just go go go until the bell rings…

You do not correct as you go. Misspellings, grammar mistakes, obscenities, tangents… all go down on the page until the end of the round.

You give yourself full license to write the worst crap in the world. Occasionally, every writer pens the worst crap in the world. Everyone except maybe A.C. Grayling, who is a damn genius…

Remarkably, the timer just went off. So everything above is what took 5 minutes to write…

The “plan” (which I may have to revise in light of how bloody fast those 5 minutes flew by) is to now move on to Round 2, being 5 minutes of re-writing, correcting, slicing and dicing and then finally, Round 3: 5 minutes of editing each wee opus.

You will never see the raw bones of the entry, only the rewritten version. I do not promise that the entries will not be utter crap, even the worst crap in the world, but I’m confident that it will be, at worst, a bit mundane and boring, although my life, which is all I have to write about, is mostly not boring.

So… are you bored yet? 

Next time, I will pick a topic, or maybe I’ll write about my writing intentions. Since I have no idea what I’ll end up writing about, it may be amusing to claim some kind of direction to veer off of in future.

I welcome comments, just don’t be an asshole. Snark is splendid. Venom is unwelcome. Stupidity will be filtered, but naivete will be permitted. There’s such a fine line…

One note: I plan to write about the things I’m into, which are somewhat diverse and very compartmentalized. I have some specifically discrete segmenting going on in my life. This will be a place where the walls between my worlds will dissolve a bit, fade in and out… What I know about myself is this: I inhabit many worlds, but I am not a different person in each one. The me who works all day in front of a Mac in an in-house design group for a Major Retail Company, The me who rehearses and sings for hundreds of hours a year with the world’s largest gay chorus, the me who still says “I love you” every day to his husband of 19 years, the me who lifts weights obsessively, the me who runs a safe sex club, the me with the elderly Jewish mother and ailing goyische stepfather… I am the same person in all my spheres and grateful for all the ways those worlds mix and inform each other…

GET this book!

Get Writing Down The Bones from Powell’s Books. Go now! Get it now! Now now now!

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