Editing Experiment: Street Sounds
January 9, 2010 § 20 Comments
In our poetry one-on-one, Sonya suggested I write longhand – with pen and paper! I almost choked. I remember how hard it was for me to write on the computer when I first started, and now my composing brain is completely comfortable seeing typed words on the page. It allows me to edit and format as I create. She also gently suggested that I might be stifling my own creativity by not letting my right brain ramble freely, and that using paper – for her – was the way to do this. And in her post about revising, she discussed looking at line breaks and formatting with a fresh eye.
So I have decided to play her way and gave it a try. The work below is my first draft – the original ramble, written by pen on lined paper. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to revise and edit, and see what I end up with. I’ll share each new version here, along with the revision technique. And I’d love to hear your thoughts about the process, or to have you join me.
First Draft: Street Sounds
She’s there in her torn hose and high heels, wobbling down the chilly street; traffic slows for light and not her; no one heeds her shouts, her wildly waving arms, open mouth and no words, dark sweater, she is singing, shouting, gesturing to whom? Her fingers form the words – American sign or gibberish, I cannot say. Are these sounds she hears as she speaks in her own silence? Is she threatening herself or others? Talking back to her own head? A homeless heart survives through shared mission – violence, camaraderie, food, joined by speech, fueled by isolation.
I imagine her first home: Two caring parents, one deaf, one not, or maybe both hearing. They learn her world, her finger-speak and take care to curb their sounds so she doesn’t feel left out. Then one day her signs turn sour, she’s speaking not to them but to others not in the room. They try to force her eyes so she can read their words, but she closes them and they cannot make her hear. So she spends her days in double-bubble wrap of deafness and psychosis. A gift from the gods that protects her fantasy – with her eyes closed no one can enter. Street sounds belong only to me.