That’s right, it’s another guest post! This time written by client Amalia Gladhart. I’ll continue to recline on my chaise, eating bonbons and drinking champagne while my clients keep this blog thing going for me…
Amalia has published translations of two novels by Ecuadorian Alicia Yánez Cossío, THE POTBELLIED VIRGIN and BEYOND THE ISLANDS and is completing a translation of TRAFALGAR, by Angélica Gorodischer. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in The Iowa Review, Stone Canoe, Bellingham Review, Seneca Review, and she just won the 2011 Burnside Review fiction chapbook contest with “Detours,” a series of linked prose poems/flash fictions as well as honorable mention in the 2012 Glimmer Train very short fiction contest. Amalia blogs at Se enseña aquí? Translation, writing, study abroad.
I’m a frugal writer. I save scraps. I collect. I can be hard-nosed when a manuscript needs cutting, but that’s largely because I don’t really give anything up: I save all the good bits in another file. I like to think of this frugality as a reflection of tenacious optimism or perseverance, though it may be self-delusion.
But sometimes, in a later project, I find a way to use those bits–a turn of phrase, a chunk of dialogue, a marvelous paragraph about a character’s odd hobby that clashed in its first home.
Maybe this is why, in visual arts, I’m often drawn to collage or assemblage. I like thinking about how things are framed, how perspective changes meaning. I like the reconfigured, the recycled, the rescued.
Maybe it’s just a high-toned excuse for eavesdropping on buses and sidewalks, in museums and grocery stores. It’s certainly why I don’t travel with ear buds–I need to listen to the scraps of conversation, the traffic, even the awful elevator music that reminds me of that swoon-worthy song we all loved way back when.
Certain lines and images have been with me for a long time, waiting. I won’t shoehorn them in just anywhere, but I don’t abandon them. I tinker, I nudge, I build a new scaffold and test out the old beams. Something old, something new, something borrowed. . . Most of us don’t invent too many words, so we’re always making something new out of slightly used materials. A writer is never entirely building from scratch. And there’s always that next project, beckoning.
Are you a word hoarder or a deck clearer?