Writing Out Loud

Blinded by Science (and Writing)

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I admit it: science was one of my favorite subjects in school. And yes, I even liked dissecting dead animals. SMALL dead animals, you understand. Nothing bigger than a fish or a frog. I drew the line at a bird. Even then, I loved birds too much to want to see inside a dead one. Besides, my cat had shared that privilege with me himself on more than one occasion, so I needed no extra help in that department. That said, another aspect of science that I loved was biology, learning how things came to be, how they grew, evolved, developed. And once again, I can liken the craft of writing to a very basic biological function: cell division.

All writing starts with an idea or a small piece of genetic material, if you will. And slowly, over time, that idea starts to grow, with each bit of material dividing and subdividing again and again until the whole mass reaches a tangible identifiable form that comes to be known as A Story. Then, the process of accretion, as Isak Dinesen called it, begins, and the story starts pulling in what it needs to survive. Detail, background information, explication, narration, dialogue, reference materials, etc. etc. etc. And like those blob-like creatures sent here from outer space in those wonderfully sappy 1950’s sci-fi movies, The Story’s mass enlarges, continues to grow and move about inside the writer’s head and within his or her own experience, pulling in as much new material as it can which enables it to get even larger, until…until…
It hits the page or the screen with a loud SPLAT! And there, the writer’s job is to tame it, to bring it in line, trap it within some predefined boundaries that transform it into something that readers won’t run madly from.
I’ve nurtured several such creatures during the last few months, while another is growing and feeding as I write.
Photo Copyright 2014-Rachel Lovejoy

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Author: raelove1950

I've been writing personally and professionally for over 40 years, and recently started writing books for Amazon Kindle. During the last 25 years, I have also written for the Journal Tribune in Biddeford, Maine; the Maine Sunday Telegram in Portland, Maine; Current Publishing in Westbrook, Maine; and the Reporter, a weekly newspaper based in Waterboro, Maine. I recently released a book entitled "From the Urban Wilderness: Life in the Southern Maine Woods," which is a collection of essays taken from a weekly column I wrote for the Journal Tribune from 2010 to 2016. It is available from Amazon.com and CreateSpaceStore.com .

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