I am not a casual reader. I have an overactive brain.
As soon as I read something – like, really read it – I start writing things down. Flashes of thought that occur to me in literary utero. I can feel the synapses firing like little mercenaries. Problem is that they fight for a while and then switch teams.
My writing works in a fairly basic way: I am stolen by little moments, little scenes, little linguistic soldiers who seduce me to their dark side and then jump ship. Initial sparks are always sentences, concepts. The majority of my revision is spent filling in the gaps.
I have since decided to call these beginnings ‘thought pockets’.
I have no secret preference for the small things, the small moments. Perhaps it’s why I prefer short stories to novels, a day of intensity to years of stretched contact, single movies to serialized television shows. Scope is certainly awe-inspiring – and it draws out emotion impossible to find in clipped scenes, it’s true – but panoramas, to me, are less of the point.
This was made even more clear during a recent family vacation to New Mexico.
Scope: The Rio Grande, highway to highway, and the sandy banks alongside it.
Scene: The way my horse’s hooves kicked up dirt on the beach.
Scope: Albuquerque, sprawled under a blue sky from 10,000 feet.
Scene: Ants interacting with half of my dropped granola bar.
Scope: A small-town Fourth of July parade, awkward and friendly, complete with fire trucks, goats, and a yak.
Scene: A basset hound, less decked out than anyone else, but still flip-flopping down the old road like he owned it.
Scope: My whole insane, ego-filled fun fest of an Italian family.
Scene: Lying nearly drunk in the grass discussing intense truths with my cousin.
Yeah, I like detail. I’ve got freckles and pores. Photoshop is not my friend.
And congratulations, you are now taking me less seriously as a writer!
Coming soon: Why intellect merged with modeling is promotional suicide to all involved. And why I am determined to change that.