A block of ice, melting

. . . . . . . In editing your book or other work of fiction, you have to be brutal with the red pen. Bring on the carets! (^) <– these things

. . . . . . . You can call the things you edit your babies or your sweethearts.

. . . . . . . Stephen King wrote the kill your darlings expression. I like his because I think of writing as more of an affair with a gorgeous blonde than as an act of infanticide. The book talks back to you and acts all sassy and you slap it into place. Then, boom, the love affair is over and you wonder how much more she thinks of you than you think of her.

“One can find women who have never had one love affair, but it is rare indeed to find any who have had only one.” — Francois de la Rochefoucauld

. . . . . . . But there’s a better way to think of it, still. Think of your unedited, but finished, work as a block of ice that’s in the horrible process of melting in the slow heat.

. . . . . . . Stephen King also wrote that a book is most vulnerable in the intro stages and too much handling might kill it. But I say that when finished it’s also vulnerable. Too much time that passes separates you from the original motivations for writing the work and the well-defined images that you carried with you throughout the production of said material.

. . . . . . . Ice. Melting.

. . . . . . . Melting.

. . . . . . . *steepling one’s fingers* It’s a serious act, the creation of a book. This novel, this … thing you’ve bled out onto the pages — it has taken a measure of your life-force and imbued it as printer’s dots. There’s no avoiding the slight paper cuts. You don’t want to minimize them, either. You want to embrace the occasional pain and embarrassment.

. . . . . . . Your world of poetry is not narrowing, it is opening up, with the progression of age and the advance of wisdom. Wisdom, hard-won, unchallenged, dwells in your eyes as you look upon your surroundings. Now is the time to pluck meaning out of dross, emeralds out of cubic zircona piles.

. . . . . . . I get embarrassed over here at the Cradle. I’m embarrassed I’m not stronger. Less than a month ago a fist came out of the darkness and knocked me to the ground. I picked up my glasses and continued on without a comment. If only. If only I had the option of fighting back.

. . . . . . . I live a life of so-limited options. I can take the pain; more than the embarrassment, pain is a regular part of life. Embarrassment is fairly rare; that’s part of what makes it hurt more than the other negative aspects of a life well-lived.

. . . . . . . Actually, that’s not exactly true. I’ve approached life from a single angle only. I’ve been a studious, Rabbinical-style [1] monk for far too long. It grates me that I cannot live life in more primal, basic, pleasure-first ways.

[1] I am not Jewish, but rather 100% European from the South-Central reaches.

. . . . . . . Oh well. At least I can fly in this virtual world of the mind like Neo in the later Matrix movies. At least I can imagine I’m Superman like the DC comics movie where he faces down four of his co-heroes. But why must I always be alone? Is this poisoning my writing? Is my angst at the past and the future lining up ten-pins I can’t knock down?

. . . . . . . Just how good a writer do I have to me before I can pass the Gate-Keepers of New York, who bar everyone but the best? Those damn literary agents. Of all the mismatched people to adjudge the contents of good new work.

. . . . . . . Back to editing.

. . . . . . . The sheer force of the creative process is enough to knock us backwards. While you’re spinning around your ergonomic chair, give due consideration to the financial merits of this piece of work you’ve created.

. . . . . . . You owe it to yourself to write the most saleable piece of work you can. You can skulk to the hills of literature once you’ve plumbed the swamps of popular entertainment. Don’t drain those swamps, baby! Leave that job for Donald Trump in another avenue of life, a lesser world. Play with double handfuls of swamp-grass! Get wet as a guy with a plunger!

*dryly all of a sudden* So you can take a shower, I mean.

. . . . . . . I am taken aback by visions of all the books I could inspire if my voice just had a wider reach.

. . . . . . . You know, the problem with being a success would be my Comments section would get overflowed and I would have to start labelling Comments NLK (Nullified Lame Komment.) And edit it out of existence.

. . . . . . . *poof!*

. . . . . . . For now, I have a handful of close contributors to the Cradle. They’ve been loyal to the Catxman. It’s funny how different they all are. How they each have their own voice. Male or female, black or white, these contributors add a rainbow of meaning to the Cradle.

. . . . . . . *raising a wine glass*

. . . . . . . This entry started out as a brief treatise on the editing process and turning into a salute to those who make the Cradle possible — Commenters, without whom this place would be dead as a stone temple in the Far Egyptian Desert.

. . . . . . . *drinking heartily* Prosit, my fellows.

At its best, the Cradle is going to evolve into a form of virtual attacking of reality. I’ll be tackling a standing cut-out figure of a man. A bobo clown doll. I’ll keep hitting it and hitting it, like a piñata. I want to know what is this reality I’m dealing with. By engaging in a written version of my whole reality — both theoretical and plainly factual — I can stare in a mirror for as long as I want, without getting tired.

I’m learning more about myself thru blogging. Lots of shee-it coming bubbling to the fuck’n surface, it just seems there’s a lot down there, suppressed, you know, not unlocking, not moving. Even the continents drift.

Fin

24 thoughts on “A block of ice, melting

  1. What your favorite Stephen King? I like his prologue to the Dark Tower series. “On being 19” I think it’s called. He mentions his influential car accident, Hobbits, Daring to be bold among other things.

    King says he puts stories on the shelf for YEARs to age.. like fine wines. Picks up something ten years later and finishes it. Me? I like what u said about writing while you are inspired. You have to be “in it” I don’t believe stories can be written ‘whenever’ there’s a time and a place.. but what do I know🤷🏽

    1. My favorite Stephen King is as follows:

      Novel — THE STAND

      Novella — THE MIST

      Short Story — THE RAFT

      He held on as tightly as he could to good writing in his later years but the weight of it proved too much. Nevertheless, he’s a better writer than many others.

      1. You have reminded me that his wisdom about ten year projects, probably has a lot to do with him being such an establish writer. With book deals and shit. He becomes a machine. Doesn’t take away from his greatness.

        A lotta people have told me the Stand is his best. It’s so long I haven’t picked it up. The mist is great, very entertaining.

        I really enjoyed The Dead Zone

        And The Gunslinger

        1. I’m unfamiliar with the ten-year projects fizz. He got to being an established writer by being consistent, putting in the time, producing a book every six months to a year. I don’t think of him as a machine. He’s VERY organic.

          As for THe STand. I recommend you pick it up. It’s an easy read, the pages fly by and soon you will regret that the world he created is over. I think I understand who you are enough to say you’ll enjoy it. You have that kind of bent.

  2. I follow a guy who has 10,000 readers, and it’s in his constitution to respond gracefully to each and every comment. You can imagine the burden. So what he does now is password protects his posts😂

    1. I remember a guy who had 60 THOUSAND readers on a decent day. His name was Heartiste. He taught game and had posts on the Dark Enlightenment. WordPress deleted his account, scattering his readers to the four winds. Somebody searched for his name and ended up here on the Cradle and mentioned him, once. I hear he’s on Gab. I might check him out but it wouldn’t be the same.

        1. He made “racist” commentary every 2 or 3 posts. He protected the rights of so-called Heritage Americans (English and Germans) against all comers. And then there was the lessons on how to get pussy. He was a provocateur, all right. I liked him a lot.

            1. You can disapprove if you want, but personal tastes are what they are. A lot of our tastes lean toward the less-approved stamp of approval side of things. Only a perfect clone is in the exact middle of the opinion spectrum all the time. And I am not a clone.

              1. I love that about the Catxman. You state your opinion, and are sometimes a “pro-voc-a-ter” yourself. Damn, good word.. Which is an inevitable consequence of living in such a divided world. So Shake off the haters.

                I do not condone racism by any means. But, as a fellow creative like yourself, I value hearing everyone’s opinion, so I don’t hate this, Heartiste for expressing his true views… Assuming they are his true views and he wasn’t just blatantly trying to stir up trouble.

                I’m an artist and psychologist foremost. I wanna know how people really think and feel. And in order to do that I sometimes repress my own thoughts and feelings. Sometimes I decline to have an opinion. Lately, at least. I used to live in the real world (Scratches head… who am I?)

              2. Yeah, but I REALLY don’t belong. I’m sure there’s a lot of people who are “oddballs” or “eccentrics” but that’s not what I mean. I’m smooth. I carry on well and I LOOK THE PART. It’s how I feel that marks me off as different.

    1. I like to believe I have a powerful voice and I use it all the time. It’s certainly easier to be oneself than to fake it and pretend to be something we’re not. This isn’t high school with our desperate grabs for popularity. Once you grow up, you carry your true face in a backpack behind you all the time. It’s a strong voice that fits snug behind us, and can be brought out.

  3. Ah, that’s a refreshing way to look at things. I don’t believe I’ve heard it as melting ice before. Sometimes the way we picture things really do affect the way we approach them, and I suspect that treating the manuscript as a block of melting ice would really change the way I look at it for the better. Thanks for this post!

    1. I wonder if it’s true that holding a vision in our minds affects the way we work, the way we produce things. If we are a carpenter and we think of a globe in our minds, holding that image, will our wooden output look and feel different? Hard to say.

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