Tuesday, August 19, 2014

More on Moron Process

Writing a sketch provokes particular feelings. When it's going well, I'm really cruising. There is, hopefully not a lot of labor in it. It just sort of happens, and it seems like it just happens to be my fingers on the keyboard as the sketch assumes shape. I stop and look at it and feel really good about it. I don't know how others will see it, but I see it in a positive light. Sometimes, but not always, it's like the ball leaving your bat and you already know it's going all the way out.

The best sketches write themselves in my head so long as I get out of the way. I live my life and ideas occur to me. Wherever I am, I put them down. Later maybe, I actually write them, but not aggressively. In a very casual sense, I decide that I am now writing but permit my mind to wander. It goes far afield and comes back, looking at the idea from different angles like it's a Jenga tower and sees parts of the sketch form up. It is, again, more like I'm watching it happen than that I'm doing it.

Some first drafts are harder than that. You bull through the thing. You try to work it more like a math problem, and it's a more direct, more intense mental process more likely to induce a lot of cursing, temple rubbing and sighing. It's not impossible for one of those to come out well, but I seldom am very sanguine about them unless someone else (who perhaps is unaware of the process to that point) avows that they like what they see.

Rewrites are different in any case. It's a surgical procedure, or maybe it's more akin to renovating a historic building. I try to change as little as possible- to mainly trust my initial instincts, or to honor the intent of the original writer if that is not me. I try to make the final sketch solely out of the words that made up the original one. I'm reminded of that Jimmy Stewart movie where the survivors of a plane crash make a new plane out of the working remnants left from the stricken one.

Anyway, however you get to the end of that part, it's a real delight to see the thing given life. It's terrifying to sent it out into the real, practical world where a million factors can and will warp what was in your head, but you must never let it remain in your head even to save it. To save it is to keep it from ever being. Now you'll have to excuse me for getting high-minded and putting on airs. I haven't earned that. I'm just a guy who's written a few good sketches and who has a lot of ideas.

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