The Gazillionth Rewrite

“I feel stupid and contagious” allows me to a) honor Nirvana belatedly (jumping on media bandwagon), and b) succinctly express how I feel when my writing group critiques my work. I have been working on my Frenchness and Identity piece for a while. I must be in my fifth major re-write/re-org at the very least. Last night I had the audacity to share the piece with my writing group, and those lovely wizards clarified the million different ways in which my piece is limping along on crutches, with a bad case of…(I don’t know. I want to say charlie horse, but I’m pretty sure that’s wrong) broken ankle. They rightfully exhorted me to simplify, streamline, focus, deepen, add fuller scenes, and feel the rage. These are all excellent suggestions. I’m going to need to put on my small cape to tackle this mess. It’s not like it was a revelatory session, it was a session of dread. I hate being told that what I suspected all along was right–my nagging doubts are totally warranted. My piece doesn’t suck, it’s too tentacular. Tentacular spectacular. Apparently I have the outline of a book buried in an unevenly paced essay. Oh me oh my, I’m gonna have to work like the dickens to figure this out (again), after having worked so hard to figure it out (before) because nothing is damn linear for me when it comes to writing (darn).

“I’m worse at what I do best
And for this gift I feel blessed”

Smells like teen spirit.

Fighting the lure of revision

I’m quite fortunate in that two friends have already given me comments on my memoir collection. (I only distributed my memoir a week ago.) Interestingly, the piece I consider my weakest was rated among the favorites and the least favorites, respectively. The world remains a place of diverse sensibilities.

I’m already faced with a pile of prospective edits, clarifications, corrections, amplifications, amendments, and changes. I’m really tempted to go in and just work on the typos. Even as I consider doing so, it’s clear that it would start innocently enough with typos, and next thing I know I’d be writing and rewriting whole paragraphs.

So I must resist the ultimate editing gateway drug–fixing typos.

Why? Well, I’m trying to let the language cool down. I want to regain a measure of perspective on what I did, both good and bad, and the only way to do that is to leave the text alone for a while. Steven King recommends six months. I’m not possessed of six months of patience. Thus, I’m aiming for a more modest period. A 30 day cooling month.

I have to pray that this time away from my language will allow me to renew my stamina for new edits and rewrites and give me the clarity of vision necessary to move the narrative further along the absurdist humor curve.

Meanwhile I have to live with myself. I’m full of vague regrets and recriminations at all my suspected failures. I had so many (semi articulated) writing goals. It’s going to be a good month for humility.