I thought I would share this She Writes blog with you. Maybe you had a time when you had to let someone, something, or a writing idea go.
A Thought Grows Blogger Extraordinaire Julie Luek graciously let me hang out on her site today. Check out her site and my guest post: http://athoughtgrows.blogspot.com/2013/02/alexandra-caselle-art-with-words.html?showComment=1360803050094&m=1#c4698915034593524893
Image taken from http://favim.com/image/203571/
Say Something About Child’s Play
The soldier asks the boy: Choose which
do I cleave? Your right arm or left?
The boy, ten, maybe nine, says: Neither,
or when I play, like a bird with a broken wing
I will smudge the line of the hopscotch
square, let the darkness in.
The soldier asks again: Choose which
do I cleave? Your right leg or left?
Older in this moment than his dead father, the boy
says: Neither, or when I dance the spirit dance,
I will stumble, kick sand in the face of light.
This boy says: Take my right eye,
it has seen too much, but leave me the left,
I will need it to see God.
As writers, there are characters, images, or settings that haunt us. They thread throughout our beings. When we unearth the tale behind them, we see what they see, know what they know, and experience what they feel. We may have had that one character, image, or setting that just won’t let us go.
When we interact with our world, we use that “third eye” perspective, that writing intuition that documents every detail in a unique form of expression. It is what sets artists apart from the rest of the world.
For me, it was a character, a mother who faced losing her children. Her story stayed with me, and I am still struggling with how to tell it. Another image has been the loss of something important like an idea or an institution. I keep seeing a person losing her notion of an idea or institution, and as it disintegrates images of what that idea has been float around her in slow motion. It’s like in the movies when someone is about to get shot, and the person’s life flashes before their eyes as he or she is about to lose it. The person feels the same way as her fairytale notions of this idea are being destroyed.
Again, the images are there, but I need to weave them into a narrative. Ahh, the task of the writer!
What characters, images, or settings from either what you have written or read remain with you? How do you interpret your world as a writer or artist?
The pin of predictability prickles into the grooves of my memory. It scratches the surface of the present and inserts a loop of random thoughts. The soundtrack of the past drowns out the development of my ideas and my life. Here I go again, cluttering my mind with white noise. This cycle spirals out of control and leaves my creativity chalk-lined on the writing pavement.
I head to the neighborhood track for a long walk, usually three to four hours of extracting the pin out.
A cul-de-sac of trees lines both sides of the winding trail. I lean against one of the trees, a sage with a crop of hanging moss twisted into dreadlocks. I palm its aged bark for guidance amidst the gold and green foliage of its followers. With no answers dispensed, I step gingerly around the carpet of freshly dug dirt and fallen leaves. I continue my stroll.
Lap after lap, the scenery does not change and neither does my train of thought. I feel like Neo in the opening scene of The Matrix Revolutions. There is nothing here to separate one thought from the other.
In life, we get stuck in the groove sometimes. We replay memories over and over again. Some of those memories are pleasant, often stirred by a scent, a song, or a photo. Some are mistakes we have made, things we wish to retract or redo. So even though we have grown a lot from the place that we were in when those memories happened, those thoughts creep up like weeds and pose a threat to threaten our very existence or hedge our newfound wisdom and growth.
With comma splices and fused sentences, those pesky run-on errors, wrong placement or non-placement of punctuation buries the idea into an ongoing string of sentences just like our present is sometimes buried inside our past.
Run-ons threaten the clarity of an idea.
One way to correct this error is to separate the complete sentences or independent clauses with a period:
Example: The St. Johns River flowed under the harpsichord Dames Pointe Bridge, a mystical being lulling God’s creations into its womb, I lounged over the braided rail bordering the balcony of my townhouse, the soundtrack of Jacksonville’s rush hour traffic dwindled in the distance as the sun left its footprints in the horizon. (comma splice—independent clauses or complete sentences joined incorrectly by commas)
Correction: The St. Johns River flowed under the harpsichord Dames Pointe Bridge, a mystical being lulling God’s creations into its womb. I lounged over the braided rail bordering the balcony of my townhouse.
The soundtrack of Jacksonville’s rush hour traffic dwindled in the distance as the sun left its footprints in the horizon.
Here are three more ways to correct them:
- Add a comma and a coordinating conjunction between the independent clauses.
- Complete sentence , FAN BOYS Complete sentence
FAN BOYS =For And Nor But Or Yet So
Two floral flasks of tea-tinged gin and the dulcet tones of jazz set the mood a king-sized bed shrouded with black lace and flanked by hearts made of strawberries created the ultimate aphrodisiac. (fused sentence— independent clauses or complete sentences joined incorrectly with no punctuation)
Correction: Two floral flasks of tea-tinged gin and the dulcet tones of jazz set the mood, and a king-sized bed shrouded with black lace and flanked by hearts made of strawberries created the ultimate aphrodisiac.
- Add a semicolon between the two independent clauses.
- Complete sentence ; Complete sentence
He retrieved the cigar from my fingers and inhaled the fumes exhaled in a fugue.
Correction: He retrieved the cigar from my fingers and inhaled; the fumes exhaled in a fugue.
- Add a semicolon, a conjunctive adverb, and a comma between the two independent clauses.
- Complete sentence ; transition word, Complete sentence
Conjunctive adverbs/transition words: moreover, however, therefore, in fact, nevertheless, etc.
The baritone notes of the bass signaled the horns to glide in with their beats, the drums barreled through the composition, the piano chimed in as Billie Holiday crooned.
Correction: The baritone notes of the bass signaled the horns to glide in with their beats; moreover, the drums barreled through the composition. The piano chimed in as Billie Holiday crooned.
By finding where one complete sentence ends and the next one begins, we can ask ourselves if they are joined correctly where they meet. The period, the semicolon, the coordinating conjunctions, and conjunctive adverbs act as equalizers. There must be a complete sentence on both sides of them.
With life, my future self is that equalizer. On each side of it lies my present with the steps that I am taking every day to make sure my purpose is complete.
Getting off the beaten track of the past, the status quo, and the run-on sentence will lead to clarity in life and in writing.