How’ve you been?
From time to time, we like to write home from our adventures. This is a postcard from Boom, one of our current writing adventures. Writing adventures for September, October, and beyond will be posted by next week. Meanwhile, look at this view!
On Tuesday, we gathered at Escapery San Francisco to redefine revision.
Revision (n): The act of seeing again, re-imagining, tearing apart, redefining. We read from our work. We talked about pizza. We asked:
What is the opposite of a piano?
What changes when I put on this mask?
What is revision?
How do we learn to look again, to attend to something as if we’ve never seen it?
Here’s a writing experiment that evolved from our conversation. Wish you were here!
The Haunted Object:
1. Consider an object from your story. It doesn’t have to be a central object, you don’t have to be rewriting that necklace story we all suffered through in middle school (shudder), just an object that stands out for some reason;
2. Consider this from Charles Baxter’s “On Defamiliarization,” in Burning Down the House:
“Hopkins appeared to believe that images become memorable when some crucial part of their meaning had been stripped from them. Sometimes an obsessive image is the product of a trauma. The trauma cnanot be remembered but has left its trace in misfit details. You may not remenebr your violent abusive uncle ver well, but hi blue glass ashtray or his decoy duck stays in your memory as if rivited there. The burden of the feeling is taken on by the objects…the process of defamiliarization is a technique for finding a certain kind of detail that resists the fitting of the object into a silhouette, that is, into a read made symbolization…search for elements that don’t fit – misfit details…you would do well not to name it, or to give it a new name, or to write as if you’re seeing it for the first time, in a state of what might be called profitable forgetting. (Paul Valery” “seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees.”).
3. Write about your object as if you’ve forgotten your name. What might it be for?