Processing Ideas

I wrote a rather long post this morning about distance and intimacy between people and what it might mean and how it might be expressed. Even though the topic is emotional, the post seemed clinical and emotionless, so I’ll let it sit for awhile and decide whether to post it as-is or edit it to be less an academic treatise and more an honest emotional exploration of intimacy and distance. I’m not sure why I’m introducing this post with reference to another I’ve not decided to publish; perhaps it’s just to remind myself that I’ve created yet another draft that one day will need attention.

The idea of publishing a collection of some of my writing has been on my mind again lately. I say “some” because it would be virtually impossible to publish all of it. I have written 3,078 posts that have appeared here and I have another 285 drafts sitting in the wings, awaiting my decision to revised them or eliminate them. That’s too much volume for a collection. For one thing, the book would be far too long and heavy. For another, I couldn’t afford the out-of-pocket costs to get the thing in print.  So a collection of carefully screened and tended pieces would be a better option.

Still, though, I can’t seem to decide between fiction and nonfiction/essay. Mixing the two in a single book might make the entire thing seem confusing and disjointed. Yet I write in such a different style in the two genres that selecting only one would reveal only a piece of who I am and what I am like. Though, to be honest, that’s probably not the primary purpose of a book; to reveal the author’s personality. How egotistical it is to even have such a thought! But I do have it. And perhaps if that’s important to me I should focus on the nonfiction; that is more likely to illustrate the way I think and feel. Yet fiction is the genre that is most likely to keep a reader’s attention, I think. Hell, I don’t know. I don’t even know if it would matter if I published a book or not. Probably not.

I think I’d call my fiction book, if I were to produce it, a collection of micro-fiction. Much of my writing consists of very short vignettes that end abruptly, as if the author were shot in the chest at close range the instant he typed the period at the end of what would be his final sentence. The reason for my admittedly odd style is this: I tend to think in unrelated snapshots. Those snapshots then lead to a thousand different outcomes, far too many for me to simply pick one and continue writing toward that objective. Instead, I go on to another vignette and do the same thing again. In a single day, I might write two old women having a conversation about their marital infidelities, a retired stagecoach driver reminiscing about his days taking people from San Antonio to Corpus Christi, and a cataclysmic storm that threatens life on earth. All in a day. But none sufficiently tantalizing for me to write the vignette and turn it into a full-fledged story.

I’ve written enough for now. Today, we’ll go to North Little Rock to look at stoves (we planned to go Saturday but opted not to go because of the rain). Then, we’ll stop at Home Depot on the way home to pick up a mini food processor Janine ordered to replace the one we have; its plastic blade housing is cracked and we fear it is dangerous. A new blade would cost almost as much as a new machine, so we ordered the machine.

Off we go. After breakfast. After my wife awakens. After a while.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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