"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

29 June 2010

Writer's Meme

Stolen from LuCindy

1. What's the last thing you wrote? A course syllabus, sad to say.

2. Is it any good? It has to be; it’s a contract.

3. What's the first thing you ever wrote that you still have? I still have a couple of pieces from grade school, for what it’s worth (which isn’t much). I have been a bit startled to see how many of the same themes have arisen in my work in later years that were there in my K-12 years.

4. Favorite genre of writing? Creative nonfiction.

5. How often do you get writer's block? It would be easier to tell you how often I don’t.

6. How do you fix it? Depends. Sometimes I just pretend that I don’t want to write anyway, which has the advantage of not having to fix the block. However, when I begin to go so insane that no one can stand to be around me, I will usually try to write a post for Inscapes that has at least some merit; sometimes just quoting someone else helps get the gears grinding. Of course, the main problem is time . . . or, rather, the lack thereof. One needs time to reflect to write anything truly meaningful, and that time is exceedingly hard to come by. There is also the most annoying phenomenon of being exceedingly busy and sitting in a meeting somewhere and the ideas suddenly flowing like lava . . .

7. Do you save everything you write? Unfortunately, yes. I fear dying before I’ve gone through it and gotten rid of at least the worst. LuCindy, I hereby appoint you my literary executor, with strict orders to get rid of at least 99% of it, and perfect freedom to get rid of 100%!

8. How do you feel about revision? “Writing is rewriting.” Getting words on the page is a great feeling and a good start, but if those words are not revised and edited with great care as many times and for however long it takes, then they are nothing more than that – words on a page, useless for any worthy purpose. Any writer who wants to make a mark takes the time to serve his readers by revising and revising and revising again, until he gets it as nearly right as is humanly possible.

9. What's your favorite thing that you've written? Probably my tenure essay, on the value of literature to life.

10. What's everyone else's favorite thing that you've written? I haven't a clue; not enough people read my work to get a take on it!

11. What writing projects are you working on right now? Course syllabi and comments on student essays and exams – ooh, lovely! A review of John Gardner’s On Moral Fiction for The Christendom Review (on spec). A book(let) for possible use in our composition classes on the writing process. Ongoing notes for a takeoff from the tenure essay.

12. What's one genre you have never written, and probably never will? The romance novel or its sanitized Christian version called “inspirational fiction.” It seems to me fundamentally untrue in its premises and conclusions and thus a disservice to readers. I love mystery novels, but haven't the mind to plot one out myself, as I lack the imagination to create a sci-fi world of the sort I also love.


Lucindyl said...

#3--It fascinates me that this happens--the same themes resurfacing years and years and a lifetime past when you began writing. Something similar goes on here, occasionally.

#6--"One needs time to reflect to writte anything truly meaningful..." Oh, yes!

#7--Only after I READ it all, quilt and chocolate to hand.

#9--Mine, too. :)

alaiyo said...

Of course you may read it -- though it will mostly be a significant waste of time, you will find much to amuse as well as appall you! :)

Thank you; we had a wonderful, wonderful couple of days with that essay. That may be as much why I like it as the essay itself!