Courtney Eldridge


The idea for this week was to use a new artist, a new song and new image, that is, to help me edit an older post. Double exposure, right? And I definitely had that sort of visual image, visual template, if you will, in mind, treating text the same. I mean, this project was designed to last for 360 days, and I’m not so far off 180, the halfway mark. Right now, today, I have, approximately, oh, a thousand pages of new writing. That’s how much I’ve written since October 22, 2009: seven hundred twelve-point, single-spaced pages of new writing, in addition to the novel’s original outline of one hundreds page (on the project website). So, clearly, I have enough writing for one book.

At this point, the question is, how to edit creatively? Because the real magic of writing happens in editing, after all. By the time a book is published, you’ve read any give page, any given paragraph, at least a hundred times. Actually, by the time a book is published, you’ve probably read any given page or passage four, five hundred times, easily. So it seemed reasonable to me, taking another pass at some old writing, reviving it, using the music/visual inspiration of a new artist.

Seemed so simple, so straightforward. And I have to say, I was pleased. I’ve been traveling this past week, and I didn’t expect a week’s vacation by any means, but I thought it would be, well, much easier. Turns out, I was wrong. By Day 5, Sketch 5, this past week, I was at a loss. Combining artists and inspirations proved to be far more difficult for my taxed brain that you’d imagine.

Then again, not to overstate the obvious here, but the thing is, you gotta adapt. You get something in your head, you gotta stick to it sometimes by changing course, completely. What this project has taught me is just how rigid I can be in my thinking, in my approach. So, if the guest artists and imagery I worked with this past week have taught me anything, it’s to think outside my own box.

That said, there has to be a way, though. To use new artists, new artwork, new imagery. I’ll figure it out, I will.

So. To Marianna, Corinah, Bryce, Max, Elies, Lauren, Haley, and Emma . . . thank you very much for trusting me. It’s common knowledge that failures are more beneficial than successes, ultimately. This week was difficult, not a failure by any means, but unexpectedly difficult. Challenging, definitely. But still, each of those images, the music, the mood and emotions I felt, listening, looking, they’re with me. They’re as much a part of the project as any I’ve worked with so far, and more in some ways. Because they’ve become part of the riddle of this book, how to create this book I’m writing. I know for a fact they will all come into play, sooner or later. Besides, if at first you don’t succeed, edit, edit again.

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