Tag Archives: writing

Revision to Introduction – & warning

My dear wife has recently begun reading this, and being more honest to me than most, has noticed some issues that might need clarification. (!)

First of all, be sure you read the Introduction – which I have just revised, and be sure you notice the warnings… especially regarding the two streams in the timeline of the story, which can be very confusing if you aren’t aware that the two streams of the story are interleaved – i.e., mixed together. The Chapters of the story I’ve called The Trip drop in every three or four pieces and are a separate, related story which began a year or so after I was out of the Air Force.

And I have added numbers to the list of pieces, so if you’re coming back to that you’ll have an easier time remembering which ones you’ve read…

Ondaatje!

Just finished reading Micahel Ondaatje’s 1982 work Running in the Family… what an experience!

Had not heard of it, discovered it by accident while looking for his new book The Cat’s Table, which I’ve been meaning to read for some time, having read about five of his books and loved them… and am just speechless with wonder at the magic he does. This book, which I read over the weekend, has reached into nearly every part of my own heart and opened it up for better or worse, and now I’m feeling washed over. Burned clean. Nothing I can say can approach what this book opens up. It is truly a spiritual experience to read his work.

It really catches up the whole great thing of family… all the beauty and pain of it wrapped into one account. And so much more…

It’s also an intense look into the personal aspects of 20th Century colonial life, all the beauty and pain of that! It was like a vast flood that raised several generations of people up in this fantasy of aspirations and accomplishments and then just smashed them down into the rocks of reality. He has this wonderful, probably mostly allegorical, story of his grandmother’s death that depicts that so beautifully.

It is – one of the levels it touches – a rare clear look into the impact of Empire on the lives of the aristocracy in a country which was washed over by wave after wave of European colonialism. We generally know, if we have thought of the subject at all, that colonialism vastly degraded the lives of the poor and ordinary peoples of the world, but often I think we have wrongly assumed that the upper classes, the wealthy, the elite benefited from it.

In fact, as Ondaatje shows in his lyrical way, they were as devastated by Empire as any street beggar or farmer. A member of the Asian diaspora, he revisits his home country, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and delves deeply into his own family, his ancestors and contemporaries, their friends and enemies, revealing lives and families and a whole culture torn apart by the exotic influences of Dutch, English, and American invasions – peaceful, benign, courteous, even kind invasions though they were.

It’s a powerful account, with deep social, cultural and personal strains that I’m still sorting out.

Done II

I actually think I am done now.

Well, I’m been thru everything again and re-edited. There are no major additions or changes to the order of pieces yet… but that may happen.

I do appreciate all of you who are reading this, as I know the story is not so sweet sometimes, and may actually be offensive to some sensibilities… but it’s just how things were from my perspective… and filtered thru my particular set of social understandings. Some of those understandings have moved along, changed, and expanded, but I’m not trying to re-formulate things based on my current perspective, as I wanted to present this story the way it seemed to me as I went thru it and as I looked back on it some years ago when I began the arduous process of writing it all down. (It’s been over 10 years, shall we say. All began with Jan’s writing group, the chapter on the Cabin beginning life as a short story for that group, who all said, “But it’s not believable.” To which I said, hmmm, well it happened! So I started writing to give enough back story to make it believable that someone would actually do such stupid things.)

I will probably do an afterword or foreword or something to bring it into my present perspective on things. I’m still too involved in it to do that at the moment.

Done?

Well, it’s pretty much done.

I think all the pieces are here now. Just finished the Epilog, and posted the final chapter of the Trip sequence last night. I suppose I should write an introduction or something, but I need some space from this part to do that.

Also just updated the Theme, which changes the way the site looks but keeps the functioning pretty much the same, so if you’ve been here before and wonder why it looks different… it is!

I am sure it needs much editing and revising yet, but it’s all here now. I would appreciate comments on the multi-genre approach and how that works for you. There may be things I need to do to make it work better, read easier, be clearer, but I’m pretty happy and pretty committed to the multi-genre approach. I feel this format creates juxtapositions of various elements of the story that don’t happen in a straight narrative… but I’m open to suggestion/discussion about modifications¬† to make things clearer.

As I said in the beginning, it’s been a hell of ride. But I feel good about it… whatever comes of it, it’s out there. I will begin going back thru making read-throughs and taking out the password restrictions where they still stand. So let me know what you think.

Thanks for hanging with me.

Writing as sculpture

Writing is much like sculpture.

You have all these grand ideas in your head as to how the thing will look, or read, and that it will be beautiful and flowing… but the process of realizing them is a slow chipping away, tiny modifications, tedious re-working and re-working…

In sculpture, one of the hardest parts is getting the piece you’re working on strapped down and solid so that you can carve or chip on it without it moving around. The technical setup for writing is much like that as well… WordPress has this new feature, ‘distraction-free writing mode’, which seems to help with some of that, but there are always the technical issues to be resolved, getting things to come out in the right order, keeping up with which is the most current version of any given piece… on and on.

But I have slogged thru quite a few of the issues with the last several bits of this wannabe book, so that it’s mostly in the right order and close to final form. There are still lots of pieces yet to come, but the end is near!