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NASIG, three bags full

I put up a CommentPress version of my NASIG talk from May 2007 (which now feels extremely old and stale, but never mind — it links to my Library Journal article about LOCKSS, among other treats I’m sure you’re slavering for).

(Added 8/26/07.) Last night I had a confusing dream involving a house in Sonoma County and a large red plastic Santa tumbling down steep stairs. When I woke up I said, “I really must redact most of that NASIG post.”

I would like to tell you that I did this because in the days since I wrote this post I have become a more highly-evolved person who is beyond such rants, but that is not the case. I can also assure you I haven’t changed my mind about what I think, nor am I a-feared of the wrath of any person or group.

The central motivation was deep irritation with my writing (in)ability: it didn’t come off as I wanted it to. (I am successfully suppressing the urge to yield to the novice writer’s habit of explaining what I was trying to say.)

Some of my blog writing is not too bad, but more posts than I’d like to admit are “shitty first drafts,” to quote Anne Lamott from Bird by Bird. This book initially irritated me — it’s baggy, it roams here and there, Lamott is so consistently over-the-top that I can’t quite read it end to end — but it has sidled its way into my heart.

My first writing rule is “reduce, reuse, recycle.” My words aren’t golden. They’re entirely expendable. As noted in an earlier post, if I think a piece needs to be eight pages instead of eighteen, I pull out my knife and I slice away. I just took an essay in progress that is more or less a one-day travelogue of a day trip to Palm Springs and remorselessly removed pages about the history of the Salton Sea that were just a load in the poor essay’s pants.

That’s my job: to put the story ahead of the words. To the extent that this blog is a narrative, I will occasionally correct course.

I am sure the ghostly presence of that post floats out there in sundry aggregators, but it’s no longer part of the corpus of this blog or of my own personal history of the first fifty years of my writing life.

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