Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Editing on the fly

Sometimes, when I'm writing on my laptop, E will join me at my side. She'll bring white paper and markers and we'll both work on our projects. My words come slower for her company and her interruptions, but I don't mind. Hers come slowly because she doesn't know how to spell yet, and I have to feed her words to her one letter at a time, morsel by morsel.

She writes carefully, and when she forms a letter improperly she carefully crosses it out. I have my delete button; she has a big X. I'll restart a phrase; she'll try again with her characters.

Her last book had a few Xed letters amidst the well-formed characters. What amused me most about it was not its content but her imagination beyond the pages. Her crafted narrative of the part of day she doesn't see made me laugh the next morning when she asked, Mama, did you really like my book? And did you read it to Daddy at bedtime for his bedtime story?

With this post, I've successfully completed NaBloPoMo. The point of the exercise, of writing every single day, is that to be a good writer, one has to write. So the month is supposed to strengthen the habit of writing, and thereby strengthen the craftsmanship. I don't know if I've improved, but I know that sitting at my laptop feels as good to me as carefully putting a brightly-colored marker to paper does to E.

Last night on the drive home the sky was overcast. E looked at a glimmer in the sky and ritually began,

Star bright / 
Star light / 
First star I see--

She realized the orb in front of the clouds was really a blinking airplane, not a star, and she crossed out the imperfectly-formed phrase. Even though her words only existed in the air between the back seat and the front, she crossed them out verbally.

We're all just composing our next lines, minute by minute, and revising and writing some more. Pin It