Batter Up

This morning I lay in bed and thought about the story I started yesterday. It was a good start, full of promise. I liked it because I could stay in that one place, at the beginning and describe the world as seen from a chair on an overcast morning while waiting to metaphorically toss the dice in the air.

It is an amazing thing that when you're writing you can inhabit the place on the page. I once had a builder tell me proudly that he could look at a set of blueprints for a minute and then walk around in them. Meaning he could experience the space in three dimensions. I didn't ask him, but I suspect that he saw the 3D projection of the plans as a framework, framed walls and plywood floors and stairways made of 2x12 stringers and 2x12 treads. I don't think he saw drywall or paint or carpet or furniture or artwork on the walls.

I'm still guessing here but I think he saw as far ahead as he needed, to accomplish his part of the project. He was a contractor so his first goal was site work and framing. After that, he handed the job off to subcontractors to do their part. He would have to be the traffic cop and the great mollifier of the parties involved. Beginning and ending with the client, the man and woman, or whoever, that developed the need and the hankering for a new space on the planet, hired the job done, and had a picture in their mind, right or wrong, of how the place would look and feel and smell, when it was finished. Then maybe they'd pay on it for 30 years and be happy, or maybe they'd be disappointed with the way the staircase looked cramped and cheap or that there still wasn't enough closet space for all their stuff and they'd plan a bigger house, one that would really, finally, and completely meet their needs. Then they would put the first house up on the market and start looking around for another house or for property on which they could execute the final solution.

People see as far as they need to encompass and accomplish their parts. That goes for the writer as well. But the difference is that the writer sees it all and has to decide what to include so that the reader can see the whole picture. To do that the writer must know the reader. They must have a common set of symbols and background to draw from when completing the shared picture. It's OK if the 1950's kitchen I'm writing about, with light yellow linoleum floor, white cast iron sink and electric clock on the wall in the shape of a rooster, isn't exactly like the one the reader pictures. As long as the basics are there the purpose is served.

I guess I'm warm and should get on with the story. I hope, I hope, I hope that it goes somewhere and that I get to that place inside it where it's warm and exciting and the pictures come into my head as I see it for the first time.  Cross my fingers.

More later,


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