Doer vs Reviewer

The argument of writer vs reader produced additional reflection.

Both George F. and Phil H. suggested activities which prompted me to analyze the concept in greater detail.

Here are some additional thoughts:

We are of two minds:
1) one, in the moment and reactive,
2) a second, out of the moment and reflective.

Consider any competitive game, sport or activity. While you are engaged in a game of chess (George F.) or skiing down a mountain, serving a tennis ball or swinging a baseball bat your mind is focused on the moment and the skills you employ are those immediately available.

It is only after you complete your pursuit can you review your results.

• I used to coach girls’ softball. I had one player who would close her eyes while she swung the bat. She denied this, of course, but when shown a video of her swing, was stunned. “How can I see the ball if I… Oh!”

• During my time learning the game of golf I had the neophyte tendency to lift my head, just a tad, causing the club to repeatedly “skull” the ball. I had no idea why I kept topping my strikes until my teacher forcefully held my head down.

In performing arts, one can practice the dance, tweak the notes, stop and repeat offline (Phil H.). But once on stage, you have but the one chance to get it right. Your mind is hot and body hotter, applying your training, such as it is.

Later, during analysis through critics, recordings or video, you might discovery errors in performance.

Fixes on the fly? Well, that’s the goal.

As beginners, while “doing”, we are incapable of “analyzing”. Only when we can sit back and review can we determine our flaws and failures.

In performance art, competitive activity, or focused application our behavior is immediate and reactive. Post action we can evaluate and analyze, applying a methodical and deliberate critique of our active endeavor.

The two minds act separately, at first. I believe that as we gain mastery, we teach ourselves to be both participant and observer. The coercion of these two minds into one is, once again, evidence of a master. To analyze and correct yourself, while you act? That’s one helluva trick.

Writing is unique in this regard.  We can run amuck, running riot with words, casting errors and faux pas like confetti—first drafts are garbage. But then we can sit on our work for days, weeks or years returning to polish, at will, until our editor’s mind is satisfied.

Imagine a concert where the guitarist twangs a sour note, stops the presentation and goes, “Hold on, let me try that again.”

The melding of our two minds will not be enough, however. Our critical self must continuously elevate our notions of quality. It becomes a never ending game of catch-up, our doer ever chasing our reviewer.

 

 

Covid Haiku

Virus spreads with song.
Breathe deep the gathering doom.
Watch lights fade to dark.

~~~

Children gaze in vain.
Orange wrapped the playground sits.
Elders tut in masks.

~~~

Millennials taunt.
Years must pass to threaten us.
Oblivion grins.

~~~

Essential, food is.
Power, water, light are gifts.
Sacrificed as debt.

~~~

Roll the dice, eyes closed.
Venture out to risk supplies.
Hitchhikers return.

~~~

Years will pass, the same.
Forever changed, our lives are.
Stranger! Trust no one.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Writer’s Log: 2051 Workshop #4

If I were to suggest one exercise for writers who stumble and fall into this morass of philosophic and analytic musings we call Anonymole, it is this: Read and edit other writers’ work.

I’ve collected four acolytes who need help. Although I’m just barely out of writer’s diapers myself, I can help these authorial toddlers avoid the moshpit of old dogs, table corners, sliding glass doors and unstable dressers. That is, I can point out the obvious problems in their writing.

And they are obvious—to me, now, at least. And these folks are effusively grateful. And I’m indulgently magnanimous in my pronouncements (kidding, really. I’m kidding, y’all).

As I read and edit, with an eight-eyed group watching, what strikes me as dichotomous is this: They instantly know their mistakes when I point them out.

What? How can you write THIS, yet know that THIS sucks when I hold a microscope to it?

And there in lies the WTF moment entwined with a Holy Shit moment. Our writer’s mind is Grand Mal divided from our reader’s mind. Two views of the world living in one brain.

And, (crux of the moment coming up), it is the gradual training of our writer’s mind to follow the advice and understanding of our reader’s mind that all writers strive to achieve.

Case in point.

You write 1000 words. It’s brilliant, evocative and gripping. You squirrel it away and forget about it for months. Occasion permits that you discover it anew and reread it. Gaw! What the fuck is this tripe? It’s heinous. (Well, maybe you’re more forgiving to yourself; I’m a recovering self-oppressed sewage-mucker and know my place.)

Regardless, what your writer’s mind wrote as timeless prose, your reader’s mind hip-checked, crushed and then slammed into the glass.

How can the two minds be so divergent? So disconnected? Ah-ha! I have no idea. However, I believe that is the secret. Writing well is the coercion of your reader’s mind over the top of your writer’s mind such that the words you pen reflect a single effort, produce a unified view of your story.

Of course, if your reader’s mind is undeveloped, Penthouse advice column your go-to literary hallmark, then the challenge of merging your two minds might be as easy as a twelve-pack and a hot day noodling catfish.

But, using my plebes as examples: If their two minds are acres divided, then presenting their errors, as-they-watch, will nudge their divided minds ever closer.

A master writer is one where their reader and writer minds are one.

That’s what I tell myself at least, the liar that I am.

What do you think? Are there two minds, the writer and the reader? Something else? Am I full of shit? Hold on, don’t answer that.

 

 

Writer’s Log: 2250 Friend or Foe

I managed to log only fifteen hours of writing last month. It would seem sequestration induces the opposite reaction, that is, inaction, at least where writing is concerned.

“Son, it’s a beautiful day outside. Go pal around with your friends.”
“Naw, I’ll just hang out inside doing nuthin’.”

“Son, it’s raining and stormy, best you stay inside today.”
“Naw, I got dams to build, boats to float and puddles to stomp.”

Not that I idled away my scant free time. A few thousand words rose like fetid mushrooms in my various venues. Yet, their shallow, haphazard appearance feels as if they grew of their own accord. “Did you write this?” “Yeah, I guess I did. But I don’t remember the verve and swerve of the experience. Perhaps I penned them during a semi-lucid dream.”

That’s not how I’d like to remember my writing adventures.

~~~

Friend or Foe

I read an article recently that explored the concept of creating a personal enemy against which one battles. It didn’t matter what type of enemy, only that it represented an oppressive or offensive manifestation that must be fought. Today I’m going to fight societal bigotry with temperance and forbearance. They, who think I can’t finish this spreadsheet, are not going to beat me! Sure it hurts, but exercise pain is the adversary we must defeat—they thought I’d give up, well I’ll show them.

If you have an identifiable rival upon which you can focus your ire, then you can leverage your aggressions to spur advancement. Fight the good fight. Wrestle and win.

I wondered about this and imagined that I might not have a personal enemy, but perhaps a loved one or close friend needs defending or protection. I might not be in jeopardy, but I have someone close who is.

Bringing this home to writing, I consider protagonists often have either a friend whom they are defending or a foe against whom they personally struggle. There’s an enemy in either case. Something evil, insidious and threatening which must be confronted and defeated—even if the enemies are but one’s own demons.

Find an enemy and do everything in your power to destroy them while they do the same to you or yours. The better the villain the better the story. Of course it’s not that simple. Sometimes a character’s friend and foe switch roles. Still, the roles exist and must be fittingly characterized.

Creating compelling enemies would appear as incentive in life as well as writing. Who are your personal opponents and are you and they worthy?

From the article: “If we imagine a force working against us, we’re more likely to get fired up, resist our temptations, and work harder to achieve our goals.”

Apocalyptic Scenario 1.b

Continuing the theme…

See the above menu item ApocaPorn for clues as to where this fits in the scheme of things.

This one takes a formatting side spur, as an experiment: no dialog quotes.

Note: you can always launch the iframe into another tab if you like for a better reading experience.