People keep asking about my Writing Process. They email and request, as if I carry some talisman made of win-win boneless ribs (oxymoron) and a glowing black light (oxymoron) of words in a secret pocket of my soul. Example, from the last week of my inbox.
From Worm14: “What is your writing process? I mean can you write if on a train?”
From 99PRIORITYDawg: “The chair is against the wall.”
On behalf of the Trustees and Executor of the estate of Late Engr.Jochen Kruger. I once again try to notify you as my earlier letter were returned undelivered. I wish to notify you that late Engr. Jochen Kruger made you a beneficiary to his WILL. He left the sum of Thirty Million, One Hundred Thousand Dollars (USD$30, 100.000.00) to you in the Codicil and last testament to his WILL. This may sound strange and unbelievable to you, but it is real and true. Being a widely traveled man, he must have been in contact with you in the past or simply you were nominated to him by one of his numerous friends abroad who wished you good. Engr. Jochen Kruger until his death was a member of the Helicopter Society and the Institute of Electronic & Electrical Engineers. Please if I reach you as I am hopeful, endeavor to get back to me as soon as possible to enable me conclude my job.”
Here it is:
1.) I etch symbols in chalk.
2.) I revise and revise. Writing is a process of removal, so I usually revise by wiping away some of the chalk with my sleeve. Or I might clean out a gas station of all its red licorice (oxymoron). Or I might take the trash barrel full of future mothers-in-law to the curb. I might even go to a local dive bar and drink nine tequilas, a cup of ice water (oxymoron), and a beer the size of Broadway, then stagger myself into the bathroom to pick a fight with anyone leaning, or maybe even the greasy mirror, or even toilet-tossing, an activity I have perfected (the key is momentum; once you have the toilet above your head, don’t stop)–all these activities a type of removal.
Note: If you ever find yourself impaled (and don’t we all eventually?)–on a tomato stake, gear shift, Bowie Knife–do NOT remove the instrument. Leave that up to the ER.
3.) I email the revised draft to my brother, who reads it aloud over the phone to my mother. I tell him to make any revisions he wants as he reads the text over the phone. My mom jots down the full text and removes the word fuck.
4.) I get her copy (snail mail) and insert the word fuck back into the text. I then remove all adverbs, mentions of dreams, head injuries, zombies, or talk shows (oxymoron). I find any instance of the word creamy and replace it with the only English word with the letter combination UFA (manufacture).
5.) I print out three copies of the final draft. One to set afire. One to wipe up the ashes off my kitchen floor. The third to send to whatever magazine I enjoy.
Baking dish nachos? You go, girl.
Off to Boston. Will bring my dig-cam and my stumbling shoes.