Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Words with purpose.
I don't mean theme, symbolism, or allegory. When I think about writing fiction, and words that have a reason for existing, I refer to knowing my story and using words as a car uses gasoline.
I have a friend that draws a lot, and in my opinion he does lots of sketching and scribbling but very little art. Without a composition or purpose in mind, he always comes up with grinning demonic elf skulls. Or female silouhettes. It's been years since he finished a cohesive page consisting of a single composition. He just starts laying down lines without any focus to them, and the results are invariably fragments.
This is my problem. It's not just a writer's block. I wonder if I can dig up actual stories and real characters in my head and communicate them. I know I shouldn't be waiting for the idea to pop up like a groundhog, but I don't know how to seek an idea, either, so I suppose I don't have much choice. So I wait, and... I'll be aware. I'll be contantly asking myself "What If?" I have to keep these gears turning. In the meantime I'm creating fragments, pointless anecdotes that don't have a beginning, middle, or end.
A few coworkers were talking about the word porpoise. In addition to being a marine animal that jumps out of the water, it's also a verb used to indicate the act of surfacing, as in submarines. "The submarine porpoised." The zenith of this conversation was "So what came first, the submarine or the porpoise?" I love word origin mysteries.
So I need words that won't just swim around aimlessly munching algae. I need words that'll break the surface, flop around wildly, then dive with a fractal splash.
Words that porpoise.
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