Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On Writing, Part II

When I write something it’s for the ending – the last line or two that tells me what it was I was trying to say. I don’t think I’ve ever known the ending to something I started before I started, and it’s that surprise that drives me.
Merwin does it in his poems – Joe Friday did it on Dragnet.
“Oh one more thing officer, I don’t know if it’s important, but… he was green.”
I meander mostly. I trust that the end will justify the digressions, that most of the sounds and sense in the body of the work will tie together at some point in a sort of poetic anti-summary that moves you more than the sum of the word count.
I think I understand the manipulations in my writing, the false leads as I dilly-dally, but understand, I don’t know how it's going to end any more than you do. I want the reader to be as tickled as I am when they finally see the connection, and (hopefully) the power, in the words as they condense at the finish.
It’s fun to flitter and dance with words with a sway and stamp of the feet as you only semi pay attention. The best part comes when a hand reaches down and turns your stomach inside out in a good way.

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