Sunday, March 13, 2005

Wreading and Writing

I've just decided to invent a new word. I encourage you to use it in everyday speech whenever you get a chance, and by a painstakingly slow process of careful osmosis it will infiltrate the English language until such a time as my dearest dream is realized and it appears in the Oxford English Dictionary with my name as the first proponent of the word in literature.

    Wread: (verb) to obsessively read and re-read your own writing until you think your eyeballs are going to fall out, yet nevertheless remain impressed with your own cleverness.
So what do you think? It's what I've been doing for most of this week. I set myself two tasks, I was going to read Proust and I was going to clean my room; but instead of slogging through Swann's Way this week as intended (though I have been reading it, just not with any focus or progression), I have spent uncounted hours reading through my own archives and enjoying every word of them; and instead of cleaning my room this weekend, I spent all yesterday and today working on "Chapter 2 Part 5" of Worst Luck, which has had me reading and re-reading... WREADING, you know... (and of course writing and rewriting) the same paragraphs over and over, as well as adding more and more of them as I go.

But I finished the chapter off, (go read it, if you like) and I feel pretty good about it, even though my room is still an utter sty and the shelves and new chest-of-drawers I bought at Home Depot on Friday are still in my car, unassembled. The novel is simply more important to me.

Of course I still have to clean my room, and perhaps I will find the time to do that instead of focusing my brain on three brand-new characters who shall be introduced in the first part of "Chapter Three," and to whom I haven't devoted very much thought: an older gay police detective, his impulsive young straight partner, and a rather pedantic medical examiner. The next chapter is where the murder is discovered, you see, and where Danny will be arrested.


The little writing hand symbol usually indicates a change in topic, but it also frequently indicates a lapse in time. Three hours has passed since I opened this post to tell you about my progress on Worst Luck; I took a little nap, and then went back to WREAD the chapter I just finished writing.

And while I was there, I decided that the last two parts of "Chapter 2" really are their own chapter... aside from all five parts being far too long for one chapter, there was a distinct change in tone and speed with the introduction of Marquesa and Valerien. So I redid parts four and five as "Chapter Three," and therefore will be starting on "Chapter Four" next with the detectives et al. (most likely after I finish editing "Chapter 2" and "Chapter 3" complete... though "editing" implies a process of pruning and winnowing, where in fact I often add more words to the mess while tying the disparate parts together and making the whole thing flow better like one piece of literature.)

But now I am utterly exhausted, I only came back here to finish this post because it was on my mind and I can't have it nagging at me. Now I am going to go brush my teeth, get in bed, and read some more Proust (I'm doing the old Moncrieff translations, by the bye, a two-volume Random House set published in the 50s that I picked up for seven dollars at a garage sale some years ago); I doubt I'll be able to get to sleep any time soon, after that unscheduled nap, but I can try anyway.


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