Monday, April 13, 2009

Reading as Writer

I have been reading the beginnings of things. Once in a while my reading appetite becomes fierce and insatiable. It is like a vitamin deficiency for words in a particular arrangement. Earlier this year it was about pacing, I craved books that I could power through and I read them as if I had been empty for way too long. Putting word after word, book after book into my head in its entirety, but lately it has been just the beginnings. I start them, read first chapters, get stuck in second chapters, loose my impetus. But I keep picking up the books voraciously. It is telling that when I write, bits and pieces of the first chapter are coming out(a revision of it) and I guess that is what I am working on now. It is so uncanny that it is my reading appetite that knows before the rest of me. It is done so instinctively, not as I was taught to it in grad school, it is more like a gesture, as I was taught to do in a drawing class. I’ve been trying to write in gestures as well as just reading or drawing that way. Big sweeping imperfect strokes of words that work to capture a feeling of something. Sometimes it works and sometimes I feel hurky-jerky, my thoughts running ahead of my fingers, getting me lost until my eyes come halting back to try and find the thrust of it. But sometimes I go back and still make out a graceful line that strikes through the prose. It is important to find its shape, it is important to find a shadow in it, because that will be what the rest is built around.
But it is work it is to get into the sketching frame of mind. Finding loose and easy is sometimes harder than any other place in the world. But then to have the eyes to see your way through, now that is hard too. On the days when I cannot find either either what do I do? Perhaps that is then that I need to read things convulsively. That is when my eyes fall across the page, outlining, sketching it invisibly on my brain. Yes, I think so.

As Always(thanks, Julie Schumacher)