Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pablo's Preamble List

Now Pablo when writing the Preamble to Annals of Pablo ended up with another of those gosh darned lists. Not in order of importance. Are you kidding?

  1. I’m usually not interested in anything that doesn’t have some sort of climax somewhere close to the end.
  2. Almost everything I try to read is about a third too long, even Holy Ye Christmas! books. And then all of a sudden her eyes turned to blazing spikes, etc. The popular taste is inured to it; it’s just another opportunity to speed read and accomplish something. Think again.
  3. If I don’t know the story by personal experience, I’m not interested in writing it. But I hate journalism and my stories are anything but memoirs.
  4. I don’t know what imagination is. I think it’s something you’re born with. In that case I give up.
  5. I like to dump my subject matter into the road and drive over it about a thousand times with a ¾-ton pick up. To leave it fluffed up is a sin. Once it’s flattened then you load it. You don’t want to drive away with less than a full load. I try very hard at this. It is something that has always bothered me. Too long, too much stuff. Either you understand this or you don’t. I really don’t have any words for what I am trying to get at from my love of brevity. Not minimalism. That is a professor’s word, and I don’t even know what it means. The wisdom silence spins off. Lists.
  6. I like the illusion of spontaneity. Who invented the term “flash fiction”? I guess it is supposed to leave the impression of an insult like teenybopper used to. But I like it and crave to obtain an effect that is immediate, that “flashes” at you. And best of all: the work is all figured out when you finally write it down as if on an impulse. Then you don’t have to spend the best part of a lifetime worrying it to death.
  7. This all goes hand in hand with the classical drill that is supposed to inculcate clarity. Clarity sure helps. It is hard work, though, and good luck to the player. You have good days and bad days. On a bad day you can’t get the mud out of the writing because you don’t even know it’s there.
  8. One thing I’m pretty sure of, I have noticed quite often in my life, that a time comes for everything. I owned a paperback copy of Isaac Babel’s stories for almost twenty years before the cobwebs cleared and I could finally see in his stories a philosophy that I could build on. Take John Milton! What a struggle I had with him! How could I ever read that? I must be dumb. No sense going to school any more. One day the time will come. I really like to read, and I’d read a lot more than I do if I didn’t love to write so much.
  9. The big objective: avoid journalism. A man does not avoid a rat carrying the plague like I avoid journalism. In my younger days we used to sit around wondering why we didn’t want to write journalism. Some of us eventually did. And there was a scholar among us, too. But to this day I’ve never sinned that way. Journalists tend to be poor fools, though some of the ladies are cute.
  10. I don’t set myself up as anybody’s conscience. I am not a doctor, so I can’t tell you what happens in the ER. I can’t write a glossy detective story either. Criticize another writer? Don’t be ridiculous. But write a potboiler? Maybe. I have several juicy ideas. I don’t intend to mirror my age, wouldn’t know how to even if I wanted to. I’m a guy who loves to write. I’ve been doing it all my life on the back of cereal boxes, on file cards, little notebooks, big notebooks and now on my laptop. In college I cut an amusing figure. People shook their heads in bewilderment and smiled: I didn’t look smart enough to put one foot in front of the other! Still it can’t be that of all the several millions of words I have written nothing of it can be any good, can it? Given the possibility of eventual happy accident.
  11. Face it, the object is to finish the work, and like it enough to believe somebody ought to read it.
Thanks. Me, Pablo.

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