Saturday, July 19, 2008

Speaking Chinese

Donis here.

A word about revisions (see Debby’s entry below). I much prefer doing revisions to writing the first draft of a novel. In my metaphorical little world, writing the first draft of novel is a coarse, rough, sweaty process. You slap that gesso on the wall by the bucket load and slather on the background paint. It’s messy and hard and, for me, a daily act of will to accomplish. But rewriting takes real skill. It requires a true eye, real delicacy and finesse to shape that big old expanse of plaster into a work of art.

I love the rewrites. I love to see the story change shape and, if you’re lucky and skilled enough, grow into something beautiful. Of course, there are those horrible moments when you realize that you’re going to have to lose a scene that you really liked, or that word of which you are so enamoured because it no longer fits the picture. I think perhaps that’s when you know you’re a real writer, when you can cut good stuff for the greater good of the story.

In other news, I'm finally getting high-speed for my computer. Yes, I've been working with dial-up for the last eleven years. It's no wonder working on-line is such an ordeal for me. The Cox people are coming out to look over the situation next week. I don't expect they'll be able to hook us right up, because believe it or not, we've never been wired for cable, and we've been warned that they'll probably have to "run a drop" to the house, which will entail getting permits from the city and could take up to two weeks.

Okay, so we're backwards. We are always about twenty years behind the times when it comes to technology. I wonder sometimes if the reason isn't because we have no kids to shame us into keeping up with the times.

For my purposes, a slow computer and six television channels have been good enough. But finally the times have overtaken me. I need to be able to go faster. Maybe post a picture, or watch a streaming video.

My sister Martha and I recently discussed the horrible problem of technology. For those of us who attained majority before the advent of the computer age, it just ain’t fair. We aren’t stupid. But we grew up in a world that required a whole other set of skills. It is as though all the younger people coming up are learning to speak Chinese as their native language. We oldies can learn to speak Chinese, too, if we have to, but we’ll never be as fluent. We’ll always have an accent.

By the way, I enrolled in a computer tutorial. My Chinese needs work.

1 comment:

aljensen said...

If you're interested in learning Chinese for free take a look at www.zhongwenred.com