Life on Mars and Raining Days

Long Beach is not a great place in the rain. The sidewalks are riddled with splatters of water, huge puddles appear where you least expect them. Cars drive way too fast because drivers have no idea how to make it through dark overhanging clouds. Its seems as if the whole world is covered in a big gray fuzzy blanket, too sleepy to even function. That’s the perfect time to stay home and curl up with the perfect book.

At this point of 2017, I’ve already amassed a desk full of books that need reading, but I find myself hooked on this one in particular. It’s called Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith, a book of poetry with a hint of sci-fi running through each poem. So far my favorite poem is “Ransom,” a work about pirates and the ocean, but I still have to finish the book to give my final opinion. And to finish the book would mean that I had time on my hands. I’ve got little time to spare.

I’m in my second year in college and the classes are starting to pile. Somehow, staying awake until two in the morning has become the norm, while falling asleep in class is still frowned upon. I’ve caught myself daydreaming on the bus twice today, nearly missing my stop each time. Things are getting harder, but more exciting as well.

Along with writing here, I’ve been editing my draft of a book, which has become a pretty nice pastime. Writers, I feel, are perfectionists at heart; nothing is ever good enough to send out into the world. Speaking for myself at least, I get a kick out of trying to analyze my work through the reader’s point of view, asking the questions they’d ask while making notes in the margins. It’s fun for me. I’m kind of curious if it’s fun for anyone else out there. Does anyone else get a kick out of the editing process? I mean, yeah, it’s slow and tedious, but still. Just being reminded of the original ideas that were woven into the first pages, how those ideas matured into more pages, and so on. I can’t be the only one.

Anyway, I once read somewhere that the best way to start working through the pages after just finishing your masterpiece is to drop it and let it sit for while. Just leave it alone for a while. I heard that and literally did not look at the file on my laptop for a month, no joke. Every time I thought I was ready, I just couldn’t get past my “writing mode”, or the point where I was writing anything and everything down just to finish. Eventually, I got past it and printed out the first ten pages of the story, using three different writing utensils to point out key characters, discrepancies and highlight pieces of information that would be important later. I’d definitely advise having the pages in printed form, that way you’re more into the role of being ‘reader’ and less into ‘writer’.

If you’re in the same boat as me and need a little help with the polishing of your masterpiece, then this is a great website to look into for more tips on self-editing.

Editing and reading poetry are only a couple of things to do when the weather is drab. Watching silent films, finding little bookshops, maybe even just standing in the rain for a bit; try all things for the sake of inspiration. I hope the sun comes back to California over the week, so fingers cross. I kind of miss sunny days. Anyway, wherever you are, don’t let the weather keep you from writing, Always keep brewing.

“Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader – not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”

-E.L. Doctorow


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