Monday, August 27, 2007

Dictation is a lost art. Executives is the '50's dictated everything.

I've determined the manner I would write a book, if one day I suddenly developed an unquenchable desire to write a book (which I think someday might happen). I wouldn't sit in front of my computer all night, I would dictate the book. To myself.

Every time I'm doing something mindless - cleaning the kitchen, painting, going out for a walk, working out, etc - my mind is always going a million miles an hour. Since my brain is normally doing a sedate thirty, this is usually the point where I get all my good ideas ("what if I designed a car that could travel on land, water, and air? You could call it 'The Everywhere Rover' and it could run on it's own momentum.") and mentally write all my posts for this site. The remainder of the time, my mental muscle is usually tied up with trying to remember what's on television that night and deciding whether or not to get the chip in my front tooth fixed (I'm still undecided).

The problem is, that whenever I'm sitting down to write a post, I usually end up staring at the screen for a moment, and then saying "hey, didn't I have an idea for a post an hour ago while I was taking the dog for a walk?" But by then, the idea, in all its luminous glory, is gone. So nothing gets done.

So my schedule would be this: I would travel with a little tape recorder, like the verbose writers in movies that are trying to avoid a voiceover. Every night, I would stay up very, very late, just like Edgar Allen Poe, or a coke dealer. I would spend my time doing some brainless activity - I might paint my apartment, or practice my putting, or do bicep curls, or play darts, or build toothpick replicas of Paris in the 1840's, or just doodle endlessly on a sketch pad out on my balcony. And I would dictate.

The next morning I would wake up and do "the morning pages," as writers call them (or so I hear). But I wouldn't be writing, as much as I would be just editing the crap I had written the night before in a tired stupor, cursing my inanity. I would then leave for work, and that night I would sit down at my computer, read what I had written that morning, figure out where I had left off the night before, and start the process over. It's a perfect system - the endless dreaminess and clarity of vision of your words as you whisper them to the night sky, the clear-thinking detail of writing something in the harsh light of morning. A balance of your left and right hemispheres, of reason and passion. I love it.

Hmmm. Someday, I should pick something to write about.


At August 28, 2007 8:40 PM, Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

But that toothpick thing sounds important. You can't take time away from that.

At August 31, 2007 8:20 PM, Blogger Caitlin said...

An alternate title for this post could be: "Or Why Writers are Generally Known as Insane." Just your friendly thought for the day!


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