“To Develop” Sounds Like Too Much Work

by lisa st john

de·vel·op : verb\di-ˈvel-əp, dē-\

: to cause (something) to grow or become bigger or more advanced
: to create (something) over a period of time
: to work out the possibilities of <
develop an idea>

My frustration with the writing process mounts. I need a little brain stretch break.

Me: “How does my character develop? What is her journey? What will happen to her?”

Gertrude Stein: “There ain’t no answer. There ain’t gonna be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer.”

 

I just realized what I want to be when I grow up (I know I am already a teacher, and I know I love my job, but let’s just say I had another life to fill up). Then I want to be Gertrude Stein. I want to be alone all day and write (except for the occasional cafe lunch) and then just have people over almost every night. We will drink and talk and smoke cigars and play Cards Against Humanity. We will ask metaphysical questions and come up with drunken ideas half-formed by moonlight.

 

We will bow to the power of repetition and we will argue until the moonlight is gone. Wait. Does this mean I need an Alice? Will I have to write her autobiography?

 

I prefer Stein’s portraits. I used to try and write them back in the day, but it just wasn’t my style. Her poem, “If I Told Him,” about Picasso tickles my brain nicely. And a tickle develops into a tangent who introduces her to an idiom. Then she starts running around with some nasty verb, and before I know it a damn plot is born.

 

Develop. Sigh. I guess it IS a verb after all.

 

I want to gently submerge the blank page into a tray of Dektol. I will make sure the red light is on. I will rock the page in the tray until the page is covered evenly. I will watch the page and reduce its ephemeral salty thoughts until only the metallic words are left. Just like magic. But magic takes work. Clarke’s Third Law says so. So. I will stop whining and wishing and keep working and see what happens. I just wish Hemingway would stop by.

Here is to having the eggs to “caress and address” our muse.

When I said. A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. And then later made that into a ring I made poetry and what did I do I caressed completely caressed and addressed a noun.”
–Stein, “Poetry and Grammar,” Lectures in America

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Leave a Reply

wpDiscuz
%d bloggers like this: