Thursday, October 04, 2007

Splash du Jour: Thursday

One of my favorite books, ever!

As a writer, I am a firm believer in serendipity, in accident and chance. Some things just happen. Some images occur. They insist. They reoccur. Suddenly you have a motif on your hands. Then you look at what you’ve got laid out before you, and you ask, Could I use this? Can I turn this into something significant, meaningful, even powerful? There’s a lot of alchemy that happens right in front of you as you write. I believe that artists must possess an inner sense of aesthetic balance, just as musicians have an “ear” for their music, to help them deal with the accidental nature of creating art. That’s why I create so many drafts when I write; then, when I feel the time is right, I start sifting.
In terms of efficiency, I’m probably the most wasteful writer there is. I edit a lot. I generate hundreds of thousands of words, then go back for the cull. I see the assembling of the big mess of words in the earlier stages of the novel as the search for the right block of marble in the quarry. Only after you get your hands on the right block can you start chipping away inch by inch. Hopefully, with a couple tons of crumbling, excess marble at your feet, you get your little, perfect, six-pound statue to show for it, gleaming and smooth, as if it existed in that block of stone all along and you were the only one able to see it.

-- Dennis Bock

Have a great Thursday!

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