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Showing posts from April, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Warming Up

Before practice or performance, dancers stretch their muscles, head to toe. Not only does stretching feel amazing, it prevents injury, and allows the performers to push the limits of their physical capabilities. See here for some favorite photos of dancers pushing their limits) Visual artists complete quick warm-up sketches or gesture drawings to loosen up the hand, and to practice before drawing more complex and detailed work. Singers perform vocal gymnastics in preparation for a performance. Lolli-lolli-lolli-lolli-lolli-lolli-lolli-lolli-lolli-lolli-lolli-lolli-POP. (That used to be my favorite.) And we writers? We open up a scene and dive in. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’ve found in the past week that a warm-up really helps my process. These warm-ups are nothing elaborate, nor are they award-winning writing. They are simply meant to get the internal editor out of the way and get the words flowing when I finally do sit down with my work-in-progress. The rules? I write on…

Throwback Thursday: On Becoming Revisionary

Last week, I helped a woman who is moving from a very large house (probably over 3000 square feet) to a three-bedroom apartment. We sorted the contents of her garage into piles of garbage, piles of recycling, piles of donations, and piles of things to keep. Some things were easy to sort: the bags of trash that had been sitting for weeks; the broken picture frame; the dented metal garbage can; the bags of clothes that no longer fit. Some things were not so easy: the dollhouse that needed a few touch-ups but still had many hours of good Barbie time left in it; the unused $600 ski rack; the deflated soccer ball. It was not my stuff, so it was easy for me to be objective. I had no emotional attachment to any of it, no history, no story, no memories lacquering the surfaces of these objects. They were just things. If I were to sort the contents of my own garage, I might not have such an easy time. We humans have a touch of the squirrel in us, a touch of the magpie. A response of “Oh! Prett…

Throwback Thursday: You Want a Story?

You say you want a story? A true-life story, an end-of-the-road type story? —Yeah, yeah, that kind. A what’s-important story? —You got a story or not? Alright, alright, keep your shirt on. I’m thinking, ok? Ok. —Ok. Ok. I’ve got it. Here’s your story. So my grandfather used to fly planes during WWII. —Planes? Yeah, you know those things in the sky? —Pffft. He was a test pilot. And one day, he was supposed to test fly this one plane, only for some reason his emergency pack wasn’t complete. See, they were supposed to carry a bar of emergency chocolate, and his pack had no chocolate. Yeah, I know, right? They had emergency chocolate! Smart brass, eh? So my grandfather’s missing his chocolate. No, I don’t know what happened to it—maybe he ate it one night when the mess hall had fiber fish for dinner. Maybe it melted in the Georgia sun. Maybe the rats got it, or the cockroaches carried it away. Who knows? That part’s not important to the story. For whatever reason, his pack had no chocola…