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So...it WASN'T perfect?


Currently editing a first draft and realizing, yet again, what a humbling task that is. In the heat of that first write, I was thrilled with every word. Thought every other paragraph was sheer genius. Yes, I know--that's never true, but every time I write something I hope that it'll be closer to true than it once was...

And...it was, actually. But there was a great deal of work that still needed to be done.

I compare this particular revision to something my Hopi in laws tell me about katsina carving--several of them are award-winners. They say the little spirit figure is already in the piece of wood they choose. It's just their job to carve down and set it free.

The story is there and knows where it needs to go. I'm just whittling away to set that story free, too. There's so much more to it than I thought--paring down reveals such exquisite new details...

"Delete" is becoming my favorite key...

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Comments (12)
  • That was beautiful to read. I love the image of both carving and the writing process being akin to setting something free. It reminds me of some time, many decades ago, that I spent in Florence, Italy. Out of all the many famous artworks I saw there, the ones that touched me the most were some sculptures, I believe unfinished ones, by Michaelangelo. The figures were only partly carved out of the rock, and the impression of human figures emerging from the raw material was quite something.

    I hope your delete button continues to work well for you and that you set free something truly wonderful.

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    • I was very lucky, I know. I was studying Italian at the time and even 18-year-old me knew it was an amazing opportunity to be there and learn. The katsinas sound fascinating too, and as I’ve never heard of them before I’ll take this as an opportunity to dig around and learn.

      Welcome to the Townhouse. I’m a newly arrived resident too so can’t really offer to show you around. But I hope you’ll be happy here.

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      • They'll be spelled "kachina" when you look for them, which is incorrect, but somehow that's what they've always been called. Hopis just grin and bear it...

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        • Cynthia and Catherine, I live in Italy and I adore Michaelangelo, but if you ever come back, I recommend going to see the Veiled Christ in Naples. It's unbelievable!image_transcoder.php?o=bx_froala_image&h=274&dpx=2&t=1602767034

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        • "the little spirit figure is already in the piece of wood they choose. It's just their job to carve down and set it free" I love this so much, Cynthia. That's exactly what editing feels like. First taking out the big chunks, the big blunt tool stuff, and then finessing carefully the closer you get. 

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          • Hi Cynthia,

            Welcome to Townhouse! I loved your post. I want to know more about katsinas too!

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            • Here's a Sun katsina, just so you know what I mean. Be careful if you decide to actually buy one. They should be Hopi and the seller should know the name of the artist and what village he's from. Click to see a bigger view...

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              • Wow that’s amazing! Such skill and such a lovely story about how they are made. I am just trying my hand at editing my first draft. Inspired by Holly Dawson and Worzel Gummidge (check out the webinars on JW), I have taken my writing head off and put my editing head on. Up until this week I didn’t know I had an editing head. My writing head likes to just spill everything onto the page however it flows and the nice people of townhouse have pointed out that all that writing can get in the way of the story. I was a bit worried my writing head might sabotage my editing head (“don’t cut that, it’s such a pretty sentence”) so I locked my writing head away in a cupboard and found that my editing head is more confident than I gave it credit for! Still learning but feeling strangely satisfied with my deleting.😀

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                • Kate, I had a chuckle over this. I love the idea of two heads, although it sounds like you're gearing up for Halloween, hiding one head in the closet. :)

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                  • I have an editing "gremlin" that sits on my shoulder, left over from my many years as a high school and college English teacher. So, I tend to edit as I go, simply because I can't stop that little sucker from nagging me the whole time. Over time, I've convinced him to stick to proofreading, gently, by promising that I'll set him free if he allows me to get through the whole novel without being too intrusive. So far our little compromise seems to be working well.

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                    • love it!

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