Day 91: Less, but Better Words

My traffic spike is well and truly dead.  It back to just me and the words and not a single pair of eyes.  At least that’s what my Stats plugin says.  I don’t know if that tracks feed readers–I kinda think not.  If I get time I might wrestle with Feedburner today.  Though when I glanced recently it didn’t look to have changed it’s chunky UI.

I’ve written of my jealousy of artists being able to make a stroke or two on a page and have a clear product.  I’ve even tried to put my money where my mouth was, but the effort is flagging.  Sunday I drifted through the entire inventory of a art supply store here in Houston looking for books and hope.  I made out pretty well.

Flipping pages in one of the more instructional how-to’s I came across an exercise entitled “Treatments of Water”.  Below the title was some text I didn’t read–how little respect I have for my passion for words.  Below those were five sketches the author/artist may have spent less time on than it takes to sharpen a pencil.  Lingering on the page was not necessary as the gestalt smacked me hard with about four clear thoughts at once: artistry is work no matter how much I think it isn’t, a primary characteristic of water is it’s desire to be level, edges like rocks or glass lend water all it’s interest, and I could parallel this lesson in words.

With wild lack of imagination, or perhaps unintentional homage, my first rendition was of five scenes involving water.  Some less directly than others.

I enjoyed the effort and liked the structure but ultimately I was sloppy in my execution.  I put in too many words and sentences to have truly mimicked the artist’s lean example.  I will be trying this again soon using less, but better words to accomplish more.  Maybe a few of these will instruct me on how to use more less but better word combinations.

Word count: 332

Day 64: Nearly All of You

…are wondering why I went with that barely discernible reference to ‘Hamlet’  when something about ‘pelican daughters’ from ‘King Lear’ would have been better suited given the reference to kids.  I am sure in the intervening 936 posts that remain for this blog, I’ll be presented with better real world experiences to drag in some Lear.

Sometimes I trace my fingertips along the edge of a tabletop or over it’s surface.  I might even rest my palms on the cool aluminum legs, pressing slightly to increase the contact.  Almost never, but sometimes I get the sensation that I am connected to the object I am caressing.  As if my nerves extended into the table, or chair, or wall to include the foreign item in my perception.

Sigh.  That’s not going anywhere.  One more try…

Never mind.  Nothing creative this evening.  I think I’ll just go for another introspective piece.

All my stuff seems to in the the head lately.  If it hasn’t seemed that way to you then that because I haven’t put everything out here on the blog.

I am thinking that I need to do a few where someone walks down the street and turns a corner and walks a few more blocks then gets hit by a car.  Anything with action.  Might not even need to get hit by a car.  Maybe just keeps walking.

This brings the toll of things I want to do next, but haven’t done yet up to three: more words, something I can’t recall, and concrete prose.  The hat trick is going to be a bit harder since I can’t recall one of the three.  Place laughter here.  I will note along with these things that I do better with being creative in the morning as long as I can find the time.  Evenings I have more time but am just to worn out to perform well.  Lately there’s lots of football.

I sorted my three year’s worth of unread comics this afternoon.  I think I am as caught up as I will ever be and need to grab a stack and start reading.

Word count: 345

Day 61: Brain Fodder

Think of the most improbable place people could live then skip two to the right and you have the ah’Taconschientee or in the suffixial patois, Shanty.

From a distance, Shanty gleams like a melting drip of a dragonfly’s eye. Nearer you make out the honeycomb of confetti-like solex clinging together and glistening in the sea sun. This could be a stalactite or an icicle.

You trim your flit to hover in a more or less safe zone back from the congested hive of flits, hangers, and sticks swooping and, well, flitting to and from Shanty. It is not hard to swap your fellow fliers for wasps and Shanty for the papery nest. The rear fans of your flit sense your curiosity and wind up a degree. You drift toward Shanty’s center of gravity.

You’re a killer. You have business here. Deadly business.

You chuckle at the melodrama and unzip your jacket to expose your décolletage.

This not an edit.  It’s a discussion of my thinking.

I like that I didn’t waste time with overly specific details.  Laundry lists of whats and wheres and hows don’t much appeal to me as a reader, so I don’t write this way.  When I make descriptions I like to overload the effort to include emotion, tone, and setting along with the information.  The stalactite reference juxtaposes the rest of the insect imagery but it’s still natural.  “…but it’s more alive.” tacked onto the end of that first paragraph might help it blend in even better.

I really do feel like I pull off the overloads I have worked on pretty well.  That’s not to say I shouldn’t continue to evaluate them closely.  My two concerns are that I don’t know when to pull back, that I linger too long on that type of description, and that I may not transition as smoothly as I think into the more plot-advancing stuff.  These descriptive analogies and extended metaphors bring the strange events and places proximal to the reader–that’s my intention anyway.

Considering my habit of scanning pages for dialogue and nearly always glossing the description, the way I write is the inverse of how I read.  Initially that seems odd, but the more I think on the two it may not be so strange after all.  I love dialog.  I don’t write it so I can’t screw it up.

Great.  I really don’t need to uncover another fear tonight.  Not after I’ve been running scared on the tacit word count challenge.  Good thing I am being introspective rather than creative.  This head writing is always dense.  At least I’ll make my unspoken quota of five hundred words a post on this one.

Using second person in this was an accident.  Or maybe a hold over of my recent training style.  When I train I direct the participants to do perform tasks: you click here, you drag this there, or you arrange these in a row like this.  Hmmm.  Not sure that I would have categorized second person as a training style.  I wonder if the immediacy and the improbability of second person could be better served with that in mind.  Maybe even mix in first person to make it read more like a trainer.  I do it this way, but you could do it this other way if you like.  Masia Freixa was second person too.  It was more of a tour however.  Actually that might be a better them to write second person in than training.  Less apt to get preachy, still allows the reader to make decisions about the events.

I might be digging on second person more than I would have thought.  I wonder how you can find well done examples.  I know of none.

Even before it’s clear this is second person–I think it ramped into that–it obviously doesn’t take itself seriously.  The writing is self-aware if not deprecating in it’s ‘let me tell you what I’m going to write’ way.  I think maybe people would be ready for an overt narrator like this.  Another bit of research to do on reading trends.

Brain fodder.

Word count: 520