Monday, May 3, 2010

Imitation Practice 3

I just spend an hour working through some imitations of Virginia Woolf's style. It is not the easiest to adjust my writing to. A work in progress. So far I noticed she uses a lot of alliteration, commas to drag out the depth of the idea in her prose (easy to trip up), and concrete details to keep it interesting.

I'm a little confused about how to actually implement the native character of my narrative. I don't know think this is something I can just "be" for a week. Maybe I can try it and see how it goes. Maybe I'll just insert her voice when applicable from what I learn at the school. I'm also thinking 4-6 days is a better time frame.

Oh, and my postmodern traveler is going to use personal essay as a medium as well. Not sure why I forgot that.

I hate Through the Dark Continent, and I have 500 more pages of this 1000 page sucker to trump through.

Got my last rabies shot today. And turned in the key to my work. It is happening all so fast.

Here are just a few samples of what I've been playing with. Don't judge:

For he was a poet and drowned untimely, and his verse, mild as it is and formal and sententious, sends forth still a frail fluty sound like that of a piano organ played in some back street resignedly by an old Italian organ–grinder in a corduroy jacket.

For it was a book and returned early, and its soul, special as it is and hidden and forlorn, looms there still a damp dusty cover like that of a corpse observed in some earlier day fondly by an old high school acquaintance—who hadn’t called in years.

For the man appeared suddenly, and his clothes, damp as they were and dirty, sent forth a funny familiarity like that of a mail package which lost its return address in some back alley by a drink too many—with a big “help me” stamped to his forehead.

But she had changed the mood; she had called into being an atmosphere which, as we followed her out into the street, seemed actually to create the humped, the twisted, the deformed. Two bearded men, brothers, apparently, stone–blind, supporting themselves by resting a hand on the head of a small boy between them, marched down the street. On they came with the unyielding yet tremulous tread of the blind, which seems to lend to their approach something of the terror and inevitability of the fate that has overtaken them. As they passed, holding straight on, the little convoy seemed to cleave asunder the passers–by with the momentum of its silence, its directness, its disaster.

But the room was the same; he had measured it twice in silence which, as I watched him over my shoulder, appeared actually to transcend the grotesque, gray-yellow, dilapidated wallpaper by closing his eyes in the middle of the pee stained carpet, beyond the house. On he went with the unwavering concentration and strenuous plans of the master bedroom, which makes me lean a little forward to see something of the vision and possibility of the room that is barricading me. As he stood, thumbed the measurement, his coy smile appeared to reveal the dream to me—with the magnitude of his gaze, its certainness, its imagination.

No one perhaps has ever felt passionately towards a lead pencil. But there are circumstances in which it can become supremely desirable to possess one; moments when we are set upon having an object, an excuse for walking half across London between tea and dinner. As the foxhunter hunts in order to preserve the breed of foxes, and the golfer plays in order that open spaces may be preserved from the builders, so when the desire comes upon us to go street rambling the pencil does for a pretext, and getting up we say: “Really I must buy a pencil,” as if under cover of this excuse we could indulge safely in the greatest pleasure of town life in winter—rambling the streets of London.

I doubt I’ve ever seriously thought about a house. But we must all live somewhere and be partial to it; walls where we hang up picture frames, barricade ourselves from the ones who do not share our secrets. As necessary as bread for the table, and the fresh air for the country folk, so when thinking in future terms house shopping does for a pretext, and upon entering we think: “A house is a necessary security,” as if masked behind this accepted truth we could see beyond the pealing paint and dilapidated ceiling—shopping for a foundation of a future.

I might be the only Provo girl who ever felt repulsively towards marriage. But there are times in which it might be perfectly tolerable to possess a husband; moments when I am not quite perfectly content with isolation yearning for something I blotted from my mind half way through my teenage years. As the streetlamps turn off when I walk under them, and my eye catches the clock at 11:12, so the thought comes to me to buy a plane ticket for a red herring, and rising up I say: “Surely I must see the world,” as if I could run from the largest fear of responsibility for eternity—following the currents of the wind.

(These were all selected from Virginia Woolf's "Street Haunting." A quick and great read if you have a minute to Google).

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