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You can read this if you wish although it consists of thoughts and fragments as I attempt to free write 750 words every day. Some of this may end up in a Story or a Conversation. Anyway, this is how one learn and shapes up The Craft.
The Big Squeeze is coming to Las Vegas. The Spaghetti Bowl, a large mess of on ramps and off ramps between the US 95 and I-15 will soon be reduced to two lanes. It already becomes two lanes on US-95 under the Bowl, so I’m not sure how this is a squeeze, but through media hyperbole and advertising, I’m to understand this will be terrible.
This morning, I decided to find an alternative route. On the advice of some friends, I decided to try North Fifth, a new road into North Las Vegas.
After fifteen minutes waiting for a light to change and let three cars through at a time, I’ve decided I can suffer through the impending peril of the Big Squeeze. Even if I sit for 5 extra minutes, it will surely beat a 55 minute commute to go 20 miles via surface streets. This is ranting I know, but you have to start 750-words somehow.
We spring back this weekend. Frankly, this just means getting up earlier. Remember to set your clocks ahead. (Don’t think about it too much: Your head will explode).
Sequoia Strawberries in the flower bed mulch
Lined up like bare root roses
Patted safe in the warm soil
Watered and blessed; a hopeful refrain.
Spring lasts a few days before summer rays
Bear down on the garden beds
Warming the soil to dry dust
A delicate balance to keep them moist.
The morning frost reminds spring follows winter
Breezes as March enters like a lion
Or sneaks in like a lamb.
Either way, the garden struggles to bloom.
A small leaf springs up from the bare root tip
As roots firmly establish themselves
And the plant becomes accustomed to its new home.
It spreads out to take space.
Small droplets in the morning light
On large leaves of green vermillion
Summer sun gobbles up the water
As ladybugs jump through the delicate flowers.
“Are you drinking enough water?”
“I think so.”
“It’s getting hotter and you need to be refreshed.”
“I went to the bathroom three times tonight.”
“You’re diabetic. That’s a sure sign of the disease.”
“I don’t suppose four tall glasses of water had anything to do with it.”
In these writing exercises you are supposed to write whatever comes to your head, in any order, without stopping. This came to my head just now.
S. I. Hayakawa was a U.S Senator from California, and before that he was a semanticist at San Francisco State University. I first read his book Language and Action in high school. The idea Bessie the Cow was an abstraction allowed me to add only those details that made her a cow, rather than endlessly describe all of her features. Abstraction allows writers to write a picture that others fill in. Hayakawa warned to stay at the top of the abstraction tree, otherwise you could lead others into an existential hell.
Trees have a colored leaf. And the leaf is made of smaller parts from veins to individual cells. Staying at the top allows the reader to fill in the abstractions, without the writer having to describe the color of the veins or explain the arrangement of the cells. However, sometimes a writer wants to describe these things. Knowing when to stop is the art of writing. A writer must be careful not to chase themselves around in circles!
Hayakawa also addresses the power of words to hypnotize and manipulate. If a person can be convinced a brown cow is really white through powerful descriptions, then a writer can powerfully draw a crowd in with the force of prose. He cautions readers to avoid taking whatever a person says at face value; question them and their motivations. Abstractive communication allows writers to rely on simile, metaphor, irony and pathos to communicate an idea. Abstraction has power as long as everyone agrees on the definition of the abstraction.
Too deep? Enough philosophy on the mechanisms of writing.
“I just don’t feel motivated or respected.”
“You hate your job?”
“Just the people. Nobody sees my contribution.”
“So you’re looking for a reward?”
“I would like to be respected and given a little credit.”
“For showing up?”
“For making this place work despite the lack of respect.”
“You received a paycheck this week?”
“I think you they must like you.”
I’m running out of words for this session’s writing activity and likely this will end long before I ever get to the bottom of a deep well. There. We now have 750-words!
© 2017, Michael Shawn Sommermeyer. All rights reserved.