Brief 1.5-Dot2Dot

dot2dot
Doesn’t matter where I start. It matters THAT I start, but I could begin anywhere then work out from there. No, I do not have a picture of the end result in mind before I begin. More often, I feel inspired: some interesting thought just popped into my head, usually while distracted, often in the shower. Then, writing becomes an imperative. I must find my keyboard and start.

The first sentence just blurts out, though it’s often right and survives every editing pass to remain there on top. From there, I scan the immediate neighborhood, certain that some likely lilly pad will appear. I often hear it calling me, echoing the sound of the seed sentence, without pretense. I hop over there, listening carefully then, bending the initial inspiration only slightly to lightly echo emerging rhythm and assonance.

I break paragraphs often, figuring that if I need a deep breath, my reader might appreciate the same. By the middle, or what might become the middle, I’ve usually stumbled upon a name for the piece, and that’s often some sneezed-together made-up word or phrase, a slight reconfiguration of some familiar one.

It’s downhill from there. The rhythm pattern’s obvious eventually, sounds echoing almost on their own. Meaning inserts herself somehow, she’s the last thing on my mind and can always be added with nudges when editing the rough first finish. Sometimes the first finish isn’t so rough. A few come out smooth enough to speak out loud. Others seem over-crowded with too many words and way too few spaces in between.

The white space rules with a gentle hand. The printed page must look attractive from a distance; not overwhelming, never intimidating; inviting even a lazy, overworked eye. It must look easy before it can be easily read, then it must be easy to read, too.

None of any of this appears as the direct result of any conscious design, but, rather, by what might be a designing consciousness; starting any old where, but inspired to be there; hopping as if by personal invitation from one lilly pad to a next lilly pad, then beyond; stumbling upon some one-off name like we all surprise our purpose in life by simply finding her; listening, not to myself but to the assonant, rhyming grammar emerging around the easy movement; committing the blessings of omission, paring out and cruelly discarding every unnecessary word; standing back to survey the shape that inspiration took, sculpting simply, for attractive appearance’s sake.

I’m a ‘frog-on-a-log-in-a-hole-in-the-bottom-of-the-sea’ type of writer. I jump into that hole without ever knowing where it might transport me. I know everything’s already connected to everything else, if sometimes by a complicated codex, but my job involves little more than connecting some otherwise undifferentiated dots, leaving an emergent picture behind. Child’s play, if I can somehow get all my grown-up learning out of its own way.

That’s what I’ll be doing today!

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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