"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Zen of Editing

Form is nothingness: think of your written work as having been written by a cosmic thread, or a can of silly string (see uses of silly string, below), that just happened to land in the shapes of letters that added up to words, a story, a book. Then, editing is like taking the end of the string, lifting and giving it a shake. Presto: nothingness again. This is why editing is scary. After all the hard work, you could wind up with nothing again. Or, you could draw replacement words, paragraphs from nothingness, edit them back into nothingness and continue ad infinitum.

If this is you, you really have been thinking too much. Each form the story takes is both indelible and changeable. You just have to pick the one you want to label "finished."

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Uses of Silly String
In Iraq

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