20 January 2014

Exit Number 20

It feels good to return to SITC and write again.

I needed a little break from the heart-wrenching, gut-socking, embarrassing and exhausting process but this week I'll resume the work of pulling weeds and pruning the blog. I reached the point where I felt like slapping my face and crying at the same time. I needed a break.

Only about two years remain to be read and the first round of review will be complete. The next step will be to take a closer look at the surviving posts to determine if there's enough material to seed a little book.

How do I decide what to cut? There are two main criteria: First, if I still find the theme of a post interesting. In these posts, I introduced an idea but did not fully explore it.

Secondly, some posts are valuable as historical records. Posts about my family fall into this category as do those in which I offer in-depth commentary on my experience in a certain locale. In their current forms, many of these posts probably need to be moved to a journal or diary. But with some reworking they might be good in a book.

So far, there's not a lot of powerful, pop off the page, stroke the heart or say "it" so clearly and honestly it hurts type writing to be found here. And I can hear some of you saying "Oh, Alex. Don't be so hard on yourself" but I'm only being hard because I know from experience that rigorous critique serves creative process and no one has shown up yet to provide this essential support on a ongoing basis.

Creativity is messy. Brainstorming and allowing ideas to spill out helter-skelter is a necessary step. Spontaneity and wildness have their appeal. Untended vines can be beautiful.


Good writers recognize that revision, polishing, fine-tuning can turn a beautiful raw thing into an exquisite piece of art.

I'm going for the art.