Thursday, June 26, 2008

Conversations with Calliope

JOE: Good morning Calliope.
CALLIOPE: Good morning Joe. How are you today?
JOE: Fine. But most of today is busy with other people.
CALLIOPE: Is that bad?
JOE: Depends on how you look at it. I won't have much if any time to continue working on writing style.
CALLIOPE: What's the upside?
JOE: Most of what I read yesterday suggested or outright demanded that a good writer needs to be a good observer of people first and then combine observations with invention and fantasy.
CALLIOPE: Is that a problem?
JOE: No, but I wish I had done a better job of observing people over the years. I have mostly focused on thoughts and motivations and to some extent feelings but have largely ignored people's physical presentation.
CALLIOPE: How do you suppose that happened?
JOE: I can think of two influences. As a child I was always in trouble for one thing or another, usually mislaying one or another of my father's tools. My tendency was to become as unobtrusive as possible. I lived defensively.
CALLIOPE: And the other?
JOE: In the monastery we had a practice of mortification of the eyes, which meant not looking at others. Even though this was only for a limited time during my life, I think it had a lasting influence. It gave me the chance to continue the anonymity I sought in childhood.
CALLIOPE: Quite a set of realizations. What do you plan to do about the situation?
JOE: Work on being more observant and being comfortable having people see me observing. I'll start working on it during my hours of people contact today. That's the rest of the upside of having a busy people day. Talk with you tomorrow.
On the Beach- Martha's Vineyard)

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