The Music of Writing

If there’s one way anyone ever got through to me, it was through music. No isolated words or gestures, nothing a person could singularly do or say. Instead, the patterned compilation of expressions caused by the core of who that person is brought the whole of them to light. It sounds like bad poetry when I try and tell you about it, but music is the immediate metaphor that comes to mind. Similarly, music was also the immediate metaphor that came to mind when I began finding unplanned, so-called “hidden” patterns in my draft these past few days after nearly a month of rigorous copy editing. Each element plays like an instrument, and they all stay in synch with each other. Structure is bass, theme is chord progression, language is melody, plot is lyrics, or the overarching “mood” should your taste be entirely instrumental, and the book is a really, really long song, or one of those albums where each track flows into the next. And everything that doesn’t fit, that isn’t patterned, well, that stuff’s excess, and it’s got to go. I tried explaining this to an editor and I got a quick good-for-you-sweetheart sort of response. So no, this rant did not win the argument. But this rant is my only argument. A symphonic mindset is the only way to make editing an absolute process and not a randomized circle jerk to everything I’ve accidentally done right so far combined with a panic attack about all the possible things I still haven’t done and might do while the clock continues to move even though I don’t have time for time.

I’m thrilled my unconscious knows vastly more than I do. I plan to find each and every one of those circular consistencies and sharpen it, clarify it, bring it out into the light for other people to see. Even if it takes a little longer than I originally planned, even if I have to do all of it alone because nobody else understands what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. This draft is all I’ve got to offer, and I’d like it to serve the highest good that it can, all limitations considered.


Now read this

Jump off the Ivory Tower

Two weeks ago, I went to a conference looking for new representation. At around the same time, my friends were flying out to their universities. There’s been a lot of doubt around my decision to take a leave of absence this semester to... Continue →

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