Monday, March 05, 2012

Against Purity

Well, no. I used to think that. Now I think the shaping intellect is more of a curse, and it's better to let yourself drawl and yawp all over the page. Say everything. All you need to do at the end is run back through it and take out the intensifiers and repetitions.

When I was young I loathed Dickens. Now he's my favorite novelist.

When I was young I loved Flaubert. Now I can't read him. What's the point? He went meticulously through all of his baths, throwing out babies to purify his bathwater.

A gull flies straight towards my window, wobbling like someone you meet on the sidewalk, when you can't decide who's going left and who's going right, and just before disaster, one of you makes a desperate resolve. Swoosh! and he's over the roof. Good luck, fellow traveler.

See? Like that.

And all the branches of all the firs are nuzzling and noddling each other, and the power lines shake, while the wind herds the cloud cover over the housetops.

I laugh, shake my head, and close my tired eyes. God, how I love you.


Jayne said...

Oh, but that blank space that you prettied up, from which you drew your courage for this piece--well, I'd love to see the first attempt. The failure. How on earth you distill from it. Then again, maybe not...

For this, alone, says it all. This is purity at its best, Dale. ;)

Dale said...

Shh! Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!


marly youmans said...

Maybe I should have read Flaubert when young. XD

Dale said...

Oh, I was such solemn self-righteous little prig! Or that's how I remember myself.

But I will admit, that every day I use the reflex to cut, cut, cut. And it's habit for me to require every word & sentence & paragraph to be able to state its business and justify its presence.

But still, I throw in with Dickens. Include, include, include until your heart runs over. Cut later, when you're just in a quiet mood, humming to yourself, snipping off a bit here and trimming a bit there. It's not so deadly earnest as all that.

Kathleen said...

Love this!!

marly said...

Nice follow-up comment! Maybe to be in the best kind of earnest, it requires some degree of play and abundance.

Woman reading: No special reason. Getting untidy, I guess!