Tag Archives: time

Thinking About It

I need a lot of off the clock thought to write anything more than a page or two.  Somewhere in the dark, scary recesses of my subconscious, oversize concepts are digested and reassembled, like leaf cutter ants feeding their subterranean fungal colonies.  Dim shapes appear in the ultra-flexible fabric of thought as ideas are juxtaposed and connections are tried and discarded or selected.

Sometimes it is like building a nest.  The pieces come from many places and are of various materials, woven into the written structure so each one depends on the next.  The developing form is built from experience and observation, but the shape is an independent creation; anecdote feeds analogies, and these service explanation and elucidation, but the integrated whole, while sustained by its members, resembles none of them.

Whether the piece I am working on is a research paper, essay, or creative fiction, I seem to require at least as much time on this particular step as on the actual writing itself.  No amount of later organization or revision can make up for lost time in pondering what I am writing, because the substance itself is weaker.

With all of the demands on my time, it is often the demands on my consideration which wreak the most havoc on my tortured writing.  While I can set aside a place and time to write–perhaps even escape the chaos of home and the clammer of work to set words on paper, if I have not expended the time and effort in thought then the product is shallow and leads no where that I care to go.

Chaos and clammer, though, are excellent materials for nest building.  With a bit more space and time for digestion, it could yet produce something interesting.  In the way of “hey, check that out,” rather than “ugh, what did I step in,” I hope.

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