Sunday, September 07, 2008

Weasel convulsions

"Weasel" is a pretty good word, noh? Say "weasel convulsions." It's fun. But what on earth am I talking about? Sigh. More writing malarkey. See, when I admitted, via email, to a friend, that I had written 5000 words yesterday, she accused me of being a robot. So, I had to explain NOH NOH NOH, not at all, you see, because they were quite possibly the worst 5000 words in the history of human language. That, if weasels had been convulsing on my keyboard, the results would surely have been more coherent. So, suddenly, weasel convulsions is my new term for that kind of carefree, lovely writing forward into the unknown. Because, it was lovely, no matter what the result. It was like my fingers had gotten out of prison and were tapdancing happily around the keyboard. Whatever the result was, it was fun. And really, I exaggerate. The result wasn't that bad. Just, not one of the tight little straight-jackety things I sometimes produce, that are sort of like the rich children you feel sorry for, because they are so tidy and shiny and afraid to move? You know? This is my rolling-in-the-mud child. You wouldn't take him into a nice restaurant, you know, but he's got spirit.

Blab blab blab.

What kind of writer are you? Do weasels convulse on your keyboard? I'm trying to become a little bit freer, for the fun -- at least in first drafts. Exploratory drafts.

There's a term I love, that Jane Yolen used in the book The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Fantasy Writers, in which she describes that kind of delicious writing forth into the unknown as "flying into the mist." Very lovely, something I have a hard time doing. I keep wanting to fan the mist away and see the whole landscape. Some writers like to discover the story as they go; some like to know it all in advance, some fall somewhere in between. How about you?
Oh yeah, did I mention? Weasels are scary and deadly. Get your rabies shots. And do not take baths with them when they are angry.

18 comments:

Laurie Thompson said...

It’s such a relief to know that the rolling-in-the-mud child with spirit isn’t the one you feel sorry for! (I’ve got two, and--speaking from experience--perhaps we should feel sorry their parents, but that’s another topic…). Seriously, that has always been my approach to parenting (the dirtier the better and spirit is definitely a virtue), so why not my writing? I think high school English led me to believe that writing should be planned and orderly, and I’m still trying to overcome that. I think I need to get a LOT messier. Thanks for the wonderful analogy!

By the way, spirited roll-in-the-mud child #1 went through a horrible phase when she was around four years old where she was TERRIFIED of weasels. She asked nonstop questions about them during the daytime, and at night they kept her awake or woke her up screaming. How does a four-year-old even know about weasels? I have no idea. She’d never even seen one. Finally, I took her to the pet store and showed her a ferret. “There’s your weasel,” I said. “Cute,” she said. “Can I have one?”

Marianne said...

Yay for you! So glad you had a day of letting the wild child take you forward. I'm much better at writing forward wildly and gleefully when I'm writing with a pen in my notebook - could easily get 2000-3000wds in a day. But as soon as I start to type it on a computer I seize up - I think there is an inherent sense of something "official" or perhaps public in writing something on the computer. So my first drafts are all in my endless notebooks...

tone almhjell said...

I'm not sure I know myself as a writer yet, but I'm certainly not good at letting things gush out.

There is some streaming, yes, and very often I feel I have no idea what is to come. But then when it appears on the screen it is as if I've known this all along, just not been aware of it, as if it were something growing in the outskirts of my garden and I just haven't looked at it before.

I feel as if I'm carefully pulling strings together, like a tapestry weaver, to bring out tableaus that are beautiful or scary or funny.

But I often doubt my nimbleness. I don't even know how to knit.

Stephanie Perkins said...

"You wouldn't take him into a nice restaurant, you know, but he's got spirit."

Hee hee hee!

Weasels may be deadly in water, but HOW CUTE are those amber eyes? And those weensy little ears? And that itty bitty smile! Come 'ere leetle weasel. I haff a present for you...kiss kiss...

NOOOOOOO!!! WEASEL ATTACK!!! DIE DIE DIE, EVIL SPAWN OF SATAN!!!

Liana said...

Oh Laini- I came to your blog in dire need of some cheering up...and you provided just that!!

Thank you :)

I LOVE the ending to this post with that gruesome graphic and your very serious advice ;)

Anonymous said...

Remmeber those weasels up at Tilden who used to constantly leap onto you and try to bite off all your hair? what would you have done were I not around? Weasels shudder in their boots for miles when they know I am coming.

Elise Murphy said...

I had a weasel fight in my yard recently! The big mama weasel caught the little weasel by the ear and dragged it across my driveway and under the car and through the shrubs while it made hysterical squeaking noises. It sounded a lot like getting a Howler! I think the mama was mad that he'd hopped right out into the open and started frolicking about.

I have three filthy, bug collecting, tree climbing little sprites. They are nothing like my writing.

Plot arc. That's all I've got in the beginning. Then the writing can take me there in whatever way it feels fit.

I am experimenting with a pouring-forth of words. I think I got 2 pages that way.

I love your weasels!

Amber Lough said...

I don't know if I've ever poured out 5,000 words. I haven't been able to sit down that long, and once I get up, it's over. Plus, I only get an hour or two at a whack. BUT...someday, it will happen. :-) On a good day, I can get up to 2,000. And they're weasel-ish words for sure.

BTW, I think weasels are cute.

And thanks for the comments about my book in your last post. ;-) Cannibalism was cool (but gory) to write about. I'm glad this next book doesn't have any of that. Maybe camel-eating, but that'd be as far as I'd go. Don't want to be labeled the "gross" historical fiction writer! :-)

myrna said...

Thanks for the laugh!

And 5,000 words! WOW. The only times I've ever typed that many words at once happened because I procrastinated scary research papers in college. I'd spend hours on the research, then I'd cram writing the paper into less than 24 hours. And they had to be immaculate children cuz I had this thing about getting good grades. Even when I stay up most of the night working on something, I don't hit 5,000 words. I haven't figured out how to turn off the editor in my brain when I'm writing.

Jehsyka said...

5,000 words? I'm not sure, is that long? Oh, so much my childish mind has to learn. I've never actually took time to take a look at how many words my story had. Hmm...I should look into that.
WEASELS ARE THE GREATEST! THEY ROCK MY FREAKIN SOCKS!
And yes, I am a bit psycho today. ^_^

Q said...

In order to write everything, I need to know how to get where I'm going. In order to write, I just need to know where I'm going. I sometimes leave hugh swaths of territory unwritten, to be filled in later when I know exactly where I am. Hope that makes sense. I'm not feeling too coherent today, either.

Jamie said...

You're totally making me love the word weasel. I keep saying it in my head. weasel. weeeeasel. weeeeesel. weeee-sel. Wheee!

HOBO said...

I write the conversation.

Amber said...

What kind of animal writer am I? Hmmm...Is there an animal that sits and stares at a computer screen until it decided it really, really, really has to get up and do the dishes? Or...dust? That would be the kind of animal I am. what is that?

:)oxox

Heather said...

Hehehe....I can just imagine the mess a computer would be after a weasel convulsed on it! Ever since watching The Big Lebowski, I cant stand the thought of little furry critters and bath tubs, yukk!

Charlotte said...

My favorite weasels are the ones in Love is Hell --probably misquoting here, but it goes like this: Love is when you are racing along the frozen tundra in a snowmobile when suddenly it overturns, trapping you underneath, and at night, the Ice Weasles come...

So in our house my little one and I lie in bed on cold winter nights and listen to the scritch scritch scritching of Ice Weasle claws on the window until we have to stop because we are scaring ourselves. And then of course, there are the more friendly Flower Weasles of the Spring. Which are fun to draw.

magnolo said...

The Weasel has landed! Long Live the Weasel!

Argent said...

Just a quick comment. Your picture at the top is a mongoose, not a weasel. They're completely unrelated animals, the similarities are purely a result of convergent evolution.