The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Having the Good Fortune of Siamese Twins

drawing/photo by Prof. Jas. Mundie
         A writer friend of mine, Tammy, recently spoke of "separating the Siamese twins." Someone had shared a story, and we all thought there were two stories embodied in the single piece.

      Just as it's delicate work to surgically separate conjoined twins, it is also tough when using a knife during revising. Which parts need to be taken out?  What needs to be added so each part stands on its own? Or is it impossible to ensure that both stories survive? Perhaps one was "feeding" off the other and is unable to live independently.

       Certainly, it's a great problem to have: Two. Two. Two writing pieces in one. However, there has been at least one instance when I was in that predicament and lost interest when the OR was booked. It was as if I lost steam once the initial piece was put onto paper. I vented. I poured my heart out. Now it will have to languish, on a ventilator, until I am willing to scrub up and start cutting.

      I loved Tammy's phrase. It's perfect. What great phrases have you created or stolen heard about the writing process (or the teaching/kid wrangling process)?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

If I Can't Have Writing Talent Like Her, I Can Have a Butt Like Her

          Last night was our twice-monthly writing critique group. I will have to devote another post or two to the great advice I got, but today, I'm going to touch on a few of the uber-important topics we discussed last night.

1. Flatulence. Yes, it's not just for medical journals anymore. One of the writers wrote an explosive piece on the problems of gas (not her own). She dropped the bombs in our laps (the copies of her story) and then left the room. At one point, I had to warn, "We'd better not laugh too hard, or we might get flatulent." It was one of the funniest pieces I've ever encountered. It was not silent but it was definitely deadly...

2. Ways to get rid of aggravating husbands. Wood chippers and nail guns were the weapons of choice last night. Wood chippers (manned by the wives) and nail guns (just leave them on a workbench...the bumbling men will do the rest) were the two techniques covered last night.

3. Teachers who blame their students and wives who blame whole-city sewage systems (see # 1). Those treacherous teachers, when gas cannot be avoided, will silently unload, and then race to another part of the room. Students invariably blame their classmates, and the educator has escaped from the stink they left behind.

4.  The value of pretend boyfriends...absent husbands...crazy ex-husbands who remain firmly "ex."

5. Nora Ephron's rear end. I'm sure she doesn't have a wide-load derriere. However, she should. We ate Nora Ephron's spaghetti last night, and the level of deliciousness had major butt-expanding potential.

This is only the third of our get-togethers, but each time it gets better...the writing suggestions, the conversation, the feeling of kinship.