Tag Archives: Two Dots

Kill Your Darlings

Since my last post (11 days ago?), I have composed another lengthy piece about my favorite recent distraction.

(As an aside, it’s a game called Two Dots, which I downloaded onto my smartphone. Although if my phone were really smart, it would have told me not to add another form of procrastination to my growing list.)

I have also let the post sit for about nine days in an open window on my laptop, saved but not published. I have stressed about its quality, lack of completion, relevance, reception, and the number of Photobucket images I commandeered to accompany the text.

Like far more writing pieces than I feel comfortable admitting, this one sat, neglected and unfinished, and virtually rot like the bag of peaches left on my kitchen shelf awaiting a bite. Except those peaches have literally begun to rot, emanate a sweet and pungent scent to remind me of their existence, and will soon end up in the compost or a batch of cobbler.

The Two Dots piece faced a similar fate––not cobbler, but a transformation into something different, more palatable––namely, this post about killing your darlings.

That term “kill your darlings” emerged in many a journalism class during my academic career, and for good reason. It is essential. And it proffers Zen-like wisdom about ego and attachment. Yet I still grapple with that one. I also carry around a 34-year-old security blanket, which I use as a sleep aid. Obviously I struggle with some form of attachment disorder. Go figure.

As serendipity would have it, I read the very chapter in Steven Pressfield’s Turning Pro (my new favorite book, writing guide, life lessons, new-age bible) about that topic over the weekend.

Pressfield writes a vignette about Pablo Picasso entitled “The Professional is Ruthless With Himself.” He describes the interaction between the artist and a gallery owner:

“Suddenly Picasso seized a palette knife and strode to the first painting. To the gallery owner’s horror, Picasso slashed the painting from end to end.

‘Pablo! Arret, Pablito!’

But Picasso didn’t stop. Blade in hand, he marched down the line of paintings, reducing each one to ribbons.

The professional knows when he has fallen short of his own standards. He will murder his darlings without hesitation, if that’s what it takes to stay true to the goddess and to his own expectations of excellence.”

There have many casualties in my writing process. The Two Dots post added to the body count, and many more will follow. If even one reader can relate to this process, though, the death has not been in vain.

Next week, perhaps Two Dots will enjoy a resurrection. In the meantime, it will remain merely a favorite distraction from writing.

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Thursday’s Child

According to “Monday’s Child,” that 19th-century nursery rhyme, those unfortunate enough to have been born on Thursday “have far to go” (if they had waited just one day, they could boast the virtues of “loving and giving”).

That aptly sums up today’s progress, which is still Thursday in the Eastern Standard Time zone.

Don’t misunderstand me, I have accomplished plenty, even though I woke up battling early stages of a September cold. Adding insult to injury, it’s 72 degrees and sunny outside. ‘Tis crueler than April

For instance, I have plowed through five more chapters of Tina Fey’s quasi-autobiography Bossypants. My reaction vacillates between inspired optimism (that inner voice says, “Astrid, YOU could write this book! You share some of Tina’s wit and humorous pop culture references!”) and devastated cynicism (that same voice turns on me with this dagger: “Astrid, Tina Fey started working for Saturday Night Live while still in her 20s; she wrote Mean Girls when she was your age; and she eked out this book while co-producing and starring in 30 Rock and raising kids. What makes this book interesting is her success and Sarah Palin fame. What would possibly make YOUR book a New York Times bestseller?”)

I’m a Gemini, such duplicity is common in my world––and one of those twins can be such a bitch. For what it’s worth, my book cover would be far less creepy.

Besides the reading, I have replayed level 68 of Two Dots, my new favorite distraction cerebral smartphone game with a free app, at least 14 times. Those pesky fireball dots foil my success every time. But I will prevail and move on to level 69, as soon as my five lives are restored (20 minutes or $.99 per life; I’ll take the wait).

I’m sure there’s a separate blog post hidden in there someplace. I’ll use it for inspiration during next Thursday’s “far-to-go” slump.

This morning I also completed Rosetta Stone‘s French level 1, lesson 4. This involves sophisticated phrases such as “les fleurs sont grosses” (“the flowers are big”) and “le chat est noir” (“the cat is black”), both of which will come in handy while trying to order a Nutella crêpe and a glass of Chablis during my next visit to Paris.

I even went outdoors. Twice. Ok, both times I marched 20 paces from the patio to the compost pile by the garage, but I did it with conviction.

(*not my actual compost container, but this one is way cooler than the one in my back yard)

So, there’s that, but in terms of writing…well, it’s after 3pm 4pm 5pm and I have tried nearly a dozen times to sit down and give WordPress an honest shot today. In the last half hour alone, I have exchanged 17 texts with my sister while attempting to write a publishable post about writing and Resistance.

I broke Rule #2 for slaying dragons: Leave your phone at home (or in the goodie drawer, the dishwasher, anywhere it cannot be mistaken for a distraction).

What better starting point than that which still has a vast distance to cover?

This is where parables, adages, factoids from fifth grade emerge and occasionally prove useful:

  • Lao Tsu’s Tao Te Ching wisdom––”A journey of one thousand miles begins with one step.”
  • Most car accidents occur within a mile of home.
  • Those last few pounds, not the first 150, are always the most stubborn to lose.

Wait, does that mean, with this much further to go, it’s only going to get harder, and with an increased chance of a fatal collision??

I’ll take my chances. This Thursday’s Child may have far to go––with the sniffles, text messages, and beckoning sunshine working against her––but she has slayed another dragon. Let’s see what Friday brings…

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