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It's Friday!

Busy, busy, busy in my little way.

I walked Tuesday, 4 miles, 4 markers, up into the gap again. I counted 40 or so hawks sitting in about 4 trees up in the gap, in backyards. Very strange. I don't think I've ever seen so many birds of prey in one place. Convention?

I finished reading michaeljasper's pages and commenting so he could have it all by his Big Writing Day today. That was an interesting project because it did something in the hind brain. I ended up using my work group time last night to draft pages and pages on a new idea. I have no idea how long it is, haven't done any research for it, but I started.

It went like this:
First, just write down the factual aspect of the idea. Jot down sections of it. It takes place over a long period of time and relates to evolution. Write down any rules. Rule 1: It's set in Virginia, so I'll have to research what the geologic history is. Rule 2: The different times have to have a connection to each other. I did this work in the afternoon, warming up.

Second, I just started playing with the beginning during workgroup, writing down the bare bones of the first idea/section. Then I looked at it and took what stood out as interesting and rewrote it using that as a focus. And rewrote it again. All of this was very loose, often in free verse, using phrases, ideas. Looking for emotional tags and descriptive tags. Pushing each one further out from a factual description. The idea niggling in my head was that by the time I have a decent draft, it might all be a metaphorical, emotional, poetic description.

And finally, when I was tired of playing with the first idea/section, I started to freewrite out into other sections, trying them out, seeing what ideas were coming out on the page, what evolutionary events interested me.

I wrote for about an hour and a half. By the time I stopped, I was very sleepy. Which is probably a good sign that my brain was working hard.

Frog Out

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
sallytuppence
Nov. 17th, 2006 01:47 pm (UTC)
Workgroup?

Is that a writing group that gets together to work?

If so, does it work?

(just curious)
birdhousefrog
Nov. 17th, 2006 02:56 pm (UTC)
The workgroup has become part of my process. It has 4-5 writers. We're undergoing a revamping, but over the past 15 months we met officially every 2 weeks. Anyone who wanted to get together just to write met on the off week. At meetings, there was a 'gizmo' which is an exercise of some kind, but not necessarily your typical writing exercise. Gizmos are for exploring your own creativity or for exploring style or process. Two of the members are poets, three are prose writers. There's a general gab session at the beginning with coffee and chocolate, the distribution of the gizmo (we take turns thinking them up), and then an hour or so of concentrated work with the gizmo. Then we usually read from what we wrote. Or not.

Last night there were only two of us and we wrote together. Gizmos are the most fun when at least 4 are there to do them. You get more variation in the result and some weird synchronicity. The poets get proto-poems, I get proto-stories. It's helpful to see the differences in style between poetry and prose. It's fun to play. It's great when you get pushed into a new creative space. I'm always fired up the next day after doing a gizmo.

We established a rule that we weren't there to critique, but we've read some of each other's work at times, just not for critiquing in the group. There's a rule to be supportive, though it's hardly a rule with these very supportive people. A rule that the group is a sacred circle and emotions and stories stay within the group and self-denigration is frowned on. Risks should be taken.

So yes, it's work in a different way. And yes, it's worked for me really well. I was gun-shy of critiquing and didn't want to do an Artist's Way rehash again. I wanted something that pushed my creativity and my style. Working with poets does that. They think in emotional metaphor all the time and it pushes me to be more emotional. Originally, when I did a gizmo I was writing non-genre, mainstream stuff about me (pretty boring, really). But eventually, I pushed through and did all my gizmos as part of a fantastic or science fictional landscape...another metaphorical way of expressing my ideas. Some of them were linked as a series of story ideas in a common landscape. And some weren't.

And then that interesting thing happened where I wrote something very personal as part of a gizmo. And went back and circled certain emotional words, phrases, turned it into free verse. And wrote that into something. And went back and looked at that and pushed it further away from my personal reality into a fantasy world. And I found I had a story and as I wrote that out, I pushed some of the metaphors into the literal. It was fantasy, after all. So that's why I'm playing/working this way. If I keep going deeper, I find something more universal, less personal, but still with an emotional gut. I wouldn't have done any of that without the group and its way of pushing creativity's boundaries.

Plus it's just nice to sit and write for an hour or two with several other people who are also diligently working. We often do those sessions in a coffee shop. Gizmos require a lot more quiet, so we do those at someone's house.

Oz
michaeljasper
Nov. 17th, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC)
Sounds like an interesting process -- I imagine you can pull some cool concepts out of the hindbrain that way!

Thanks so much for your feedback. I am trying my best to sit down and organize my ending before I dive into the words themselves. Waiting for the coffee to kick in...
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )