Thursday, December 01, 1994

Just finished writing a song – early in the morning of Dec. 1. Wouldn't have known what day it was unless I was working on the computer... the machine, with machine-like precision, knows the time and the date and does not hesitate to call it tomorrow when it's a minute past midnight. The machine.

It occurred to me that a great constraint of writing is that you can only write one thing at a time. It will be a great evolution in mankind's history when a writer effectively writes more than one text at a time. And not as a stunt, mind you. Because he has to, because the words, thoughts, directions, digressions are arriving too quickly or even all at once. A second pair of hands would be useful, I suppose. And by the way, what a weakness, what a shame it is to reread one's writing, as I have just this moment done. Or to stick the computer cursor into the text at will, as I have just now done, changing the very meaning of an entire half a paragraph (should it be a separate paragraph?) that I've just written, to say this: I am not sure of what I am about to write. That is, what I wrote earlier. I mean – this: Writing teachers, great and not so great teachers, will tell you that you must revise; but I suspect that writers, especially great writers, will tell you that it is really preferable not to look, even; but rather to race through page after page, unhinged. I am consigned to stop feebly at every turn – a comma here, a semicolon there, never sure it is quite right. You can not calculate great writing, arrive at it systematically. It has to flow freely. The words can be modified but the writing must be done.

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