Thursday, May 31, 2012

That Old Master Painter From the Faraway Hills?

A difficult bit of editing/rewriting. Here is how the script came in. Both Detroit writer Mark Durfee and I agreed that it was inchoate, that is to say, really undeveloped writing:

 "Yesterday, on a day when she was particularly beautiful, a Montreal woman, the fervor of her spectacularly vivid eyes outlined in eyeliner by God, held me spellbound when she told me there was more to feminine beauty than a fabulous look. To me, reaching maturity in the world’s greatest newsroom, I thought I ought by now to be immune to explosions of great beauty. In the world of beautiful women one could see such women every day: at fashion press conferences, in the great hotels, in the magazines, on the Internet, possibly even across from you at breakfast. By now, I thought, beautiful women ought to be as natural to the male eye as sex. But then, to me, women are never just natural. They happen to be a phenomenon."
Here is how I rewrote the first paragraph, hoping to place powerfully felt emotions, at least the writer's emotions as I sensed them, on the printed page, trying for elegance and tact.

"Rebecca appears before you through the steam while you are rolling around in your old mahogany- supported porcelain bathtub, the kind with brass claws attached, filled almost to the top. A a feeling of warmth and fuzziness. Images of Rebecca. Rebecca, her 1920's Vogue face, the bobbed hair, a Drew Barrymore fallen into the rye one September day, swallowed, almost drowned like you in the warm comfort of your antique bathtub...(  Writer Alfred Warkertin: Don't take offence. Says old writer Norman Podhoretz that after executing good writing, you almost want to go off and masturbate. Says a pal, Yeah. It shows in some of Podhoretz' writing. Maybe it's showing in my attempt at editing. :)

19 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I like that, man!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Thank you!

Chris Benjamin said...

Rewriting, it's a killer process that works best as a serial.

Anonymous said...

Hi folks,

Well the big news, which you may have heard by now, is that Eco-Innovators won the 2012 APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award a couple of weeks ago. The ceremony was in St. John's and the whole arts community seemed to be out to fete the writers. It's a fabulous city and the event was a great deal of fun. I'll likely post pictures and video online somewhere, at some point. All the winners are listed in this Chronicle Herald article about the awards: http://thechronicleherald.ca/artslife/97619-thurston-s-atlantic-coast-wins-at-atlantic-book-awards.

And in other very big awards news, Eco-Innovators has now made the Evelyn Richardson Memorial Non-Fiction Award Shortlist, which is Nova Scotia's biggest non-fiction prize. Information on the three nominees (all environmental books, incidentally) is available at http://www.writers.ns.ca/2012-richardson-nominees.html. [Got to admit my money's on Harry Thurston, who has won this thing three times already and is a huge talent.]

Now, for your reading pleasure, my latest columns in The Coast. I've got a piece about some keen North End Halifax residents who are working to turn an intersection for cars into a public square: http://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/repairing-halifax/Content?oid=3175868.

I've also taken a look at how Nova Scotia's first ever NDP government has fared on environment in its first three years. [Hint: the article is called "Green Screen" for good reason]. It's at http://www.thecoast.ca/halifax/ndps-green-screen/Content?oid=3162448.

And if you're in Halifax, I have two pieces in Halifax Magazine this month. Not available online so you'll have to track it down at a fine retailer near me.

Fare thee well, loves, until next time.

Chris
--
Chris Benjamin is a freelance journalist, fiction writer, CBC News web writer/editor and a columnist for The Coast. He is the author of Eco-Innovators: Sustainability in Atlantic Canada, winner of the 2012 APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award, and the critically-acclaimed novel, Drive-by Saviours. In 2006/2007 he worked as a journalist in Ghana. He shared an honourable mention in the 2009 National Magazine Awards. Chris has also written for The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Chronicle Herald, VoicePrint Canada, This Magazine, Now Magazine, Canadian Dimension, Descant, OpenFile, Arts East, East Coast Kitchen Party, Third Person Press, Nashwaak Review, Pottersfield Press, Rattling Books, The Society, University of Waterloo Press, Z Magazine, Briarpatch Magazine, Coastlands, Progress Magazine, Rural Delivery and many others.

www.chrisbenjaminwriting.com
http://twitter.com/benjaminwrites

Anonymous said...

Mark Durfee:
I like Rebecca much better than "She"
June 1 at 6:28am

ivan@creativewritng.ca said...

Chris,

One is a serial quiller. (Clang)!

Mona said...

The she sounds like from the recent beauty pageant with her answers well rehearsed in advance!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hi Mona. Hey, long time no see.

Chris Benjamin said...

Ha!

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