13: Skin

Day 13 of 100, Singapore

I re-read yesterday’s post this morning and groaned, wanting to revise immediately. Resisting the urge, I did correct a couple of vital spelling errors and removed a sentence. Everything else remains in its reluctant form.

I don’t draft much, in this daily writing exercise. I bang these posts out on the keyboard, do a cursory check for spelling errors, inevitably missing a few, and hit the Publish button. Part of this has to do with time: I never write these posts before midnight, and they take a decent while, so by the time I’ve published, all I want to do is hit the sack. The other part is experimenting with writing discipline – how to think through a topic soundly enough that my first draft actually makes a measure of sense.

I’m a drafter by nature. I do it with everything that I write, because my thought process is so jumbled that very little comes out sound the first time around (or the second, or the third). It’s pretty common for me to draft a blog post about 20 times just to make sure what I write makes sense, never mind sound elegant. These posts I’ve been doing? 2 drafts, tops. You get them in all their structurally suspect, underdeveloped, grammatically dodgy whackery. At the end of a hundred days, they will be a contact sheet of my mind at midnight. It won’t be pretty.


  1. greg g says:

    Elizabeth Bishop spent twenty years making drafts (one presumes with breaks and not always at midnight) of the 28 six line stanzas of “The Moose” until she was happy enough with them to publish. So what you’re saying is these posts will be slightly less formally considered? :-)

    1. Charlene says:

      20 years! OK, i don’t feel so weird about drafting a blog post 65 times (have done on a number of occasions), and still ending up with basic errors. Heh.

      What I’m fervently hoping, is that i don’t regret publishing these posts down the line.

  2. greg g says:

    Different writings have different purposes. I wrote about “The Moose” above, and now let me mention (I constantly tell people what they already know as if it were news, so if this is one of those times, let me apologize in advance) the “automatic writing” that was part of the original French Surrealists’ practice. They would actually hire a transcriptionist and one of their number would just talk, as much from an empty head as possible, less considered even than “stream of consciousness”… one might call it a “stream of the unconscious”. They thought this described a world not unreal, but beyond conventional reality, hence, surreal.

    On the subject of errors, another Elizabeth Bishop story (if you got the idea I’m a Bishop fan-boy, you’d be right): in her first collection, “North & South” published in 1946, one of the most celebrated poems bore the title “Man Moth” which was derived from a misprint in the NY Times for Mammoth (as in Wooly). ;-)

    1. Charlene says:

      Heh, Greg, I hadn’t heard of this verbal doodling (what it sounds like to me); something to look up the next time I’m trying not to procrastinate!

      I think I might have known about the Man Moth typo once upon a time… it possibly came up during Lit class in school. But I’d clearly forgotten all about it. Went to read the poem again and had to chuckle at this critical tidbit. What a delightful pisstake of a typo.

  3. Kevin Bay says:

    Yesterday’s post was honest and true…nothing wrong with that, and I’m glad you didn’t edit it away because I share some of those feelings.

    And I do hope you continue to keep up with this 100 day project. I find the content inspiring and the “structurally suspect, underdeveloped, grammatically dodgy whackery” very refreshing!

    1. Charlene says:

      Haha! It’s good to know someone does. Cheers Kevin

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