Friday, January 2, 2009

Free Write Friday
Free writes are an excellent way to loosen up your writing bones. Choose a springboard, set your time (I like 10 minutes), put your pen on the paper and don’t stop writing – no matter what crazy things pop into your head. If you get stuck, write “I’m stuck, I’m stuck, I’m stuck” or I’ can’t think of anything, I can’t think of anything, this paper is cheap, this paper is cheap, where’d I get this pen, oh yeah it was Foss drug, that great old fashioned store with an actual Soda Fountain, just like Rexall Drug in Clayton….” You get the idea - eventually, something else will creep in and you’ll be off again. Trust yourself to write down everything you think – no matter how freaking weird. You'll be amazed how many little jewels will burble up out of your subconscious, little kernels of ideas that may blossom into your next poem, or spark a new story. You won’t believe all the quirky characters puttering about in that head of yours. I love this quote from Flannery O’Connor: “I write to discover what I know.” Free writing is an excellent tool for dislodging some of the more interesting matter that lurks below.

Here’s one of my recent un-edited free writes. I don’t know where this fellow came from.

My Springboard: “I wouldnt go by nothin he said.” From All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

“I wouldnt go by nothin he said.”

Sallow cheeked, yellow wax bones and teeth. Fur-lined Fudd hat with flaps. He won’t look you in the eye without you give him explicit permission.

He’s a nod, a scrape & bow, a shuffle, a perpetual apology.

But he’s right, nonetheless, whether she gives him credit for it or not. He’s spent so many years tuning in to the subtle cues of those around him; he’s a master of the right word, a master of pushing the button that drops a dime in his gritty palm.

He’s a listener, a gatherer, a pocketer of details. He knows when Sam, the cattleman, gets paid out on the sale of a bull and prone to get loosed up and easy at the pool hall.

He knows when Larry Dryman’s wife is getting bitchy loud enough to pester him right through the open window till Larry’s gotta step out and breathe. Larry gets sympathetic when his wife gets bitchy.

Even Lois gets sympathetic, like she will be later for having picked on him in front of a stranger.

Springboard du Jour: “I wouldnt go by nothin he said.” From All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

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