18 jul. 2005

Discussions of the process of writing can be dull, because the real question behind the question is, "Where does it all come from?" They might be interesting if they addressed that question more directly. Discussions of how poems might best be arranged in manuscripts are also inherently dull. Should you divide the manuscript into different sections? Roman or arabic numerals? Arrange the poems into chronological or alphabetical order? Anyone up for a debate about the ideal Selected Poems of Charles Olson? A Master's Thesis on the order of poems in James Tate collections?

It's not that these questions lack all importance or relevance, but that the results usually end up being mighty banal. Could any reader actually tell whether a James Tate collection had been "shaped" in a particular way or simply thrown together? Of course MY books of poetry are arranged according to a secret method that I will never reveal.

There was a time I would have been keenly interested in discussions of the mechanics of process. But of course the real process takes place in the brain, not on paper or on the computer, not with pen or typewriter.

Oh, another thing. I'm not interested in seeing your drafts on line. I'm not at all interested in the fact that your first and second versions of your clumsy poem are even clumsier than the "finished product." "Yes, I took out that word because it seemed quite unnecessary." Nobody cares to see what your woodworking project looked like before you sanded it.

On the other hand, when an interesting writer like Gary talks about his process of developing projects he is interesting. I'ts like when Fairfield Porter said: "If you are vain, it is vain to sign your paintings and vain not to sign them. If you are not vain, it is not vain to sign your paintings and not vain not to sign them."

9 comentarios:

garylmcdowell dijo...

Am I the Gary you speak fondly of? Would be nice if I weren't one of the boring writers you speak of in this post.

G

Jonathan dijo...

___

I'm sure you're interesting too, but I was talking about Gary Sullivan. Somehow the I didn't do the link correctly on his name. Gary Norris is interesting too. You can be Gary #3.

garylmcdowell dijo...

Gary #3 is better than no Gary.

Jesse dijo...

i enter "drafts" to my blog, but most of my readers are "next blog" pushers, tho i feel my finished products are worthwhile. i try to maintain a creative weblog, not a tea party.

Jesse dijo...

...or what ever convenient metaphor you will prefer, i.e., not 'pontification proficiently adumbrated,' like several bloggers i read

Jesse dijo...

i regret ever feeling envy over so much proficient adumbration

Jonathan dijo...

I mght put a draft up to, but not in the spirit of "look how I've spiffed up this poem."

Jesse dijo...

okay, but over here it's called stimulus to method, but i do admit to overworking most of my stuff.

CLAY BANES dijo...

An interesting master's thesis might be The Problems of James Tate.