Friday, January 18, 2008

Words in Limbo

I have composed a number of blog posts in the last few days. You will never see them, though, because they were not written down. What happens to unwritten blog posts is the same as what happens to unwritten poems and stories: they hang around and you breathe in the essence of them and then they evaporate, dissipate, do whatever it is that smoke does when it goes. And then they go to a place that we will call Limbo. I like Jack Kerouac's notion that only first drafts are preserved in heaven. But words that do not make it to first draft must also surely go somewhere, and Limbo is the very place for them, for they have been conceived but are not yet born. I will come face to face with them, I have no doubt, when I have shuffled of this mortal coil and am on my way to meet Saint Peter face to face at the gates of heaven. It pains me to have to say this to you Signs, he will say, but there are a few matters outstanding for you to attend to before we can even begin to consider your application. I will know at once that he is referring to the unwritten stories, poems, blog posts, words that are waiting for me to give them form and substance.
But Saint Peter, I will say with outstretched palms, I have done my best, I just got tired.
That's as may be, he'll reply, but rules is rules, and it's more than my job's worth etc. etc. (you can imagine the rest).

Dear Reader, pray for my immortal soul, now and at the hour of the blog post's conception, that I do not lay up a pile of trouble for myself in the hereafter.

(and Saint Peter, if you are listening: two poems in one week - and I mean words on paper - has got to be worth a few gold stars).

13 comments:

Nicola said...

I love this, Signs. I've got loads waiting there for me so if I get there first, I'll wait for you and we can plead together x

trousers said...

Another one here who has so many abandoned or unfinished ideas...I'll see you two up there and will put in a good word if I can.

I'm wondering though if this is somehow a case of reaping what you don't sow? Or another case of damned if you do, damned if you don't...

Reading the Signs said...

That sounds good, Nicola. Trousers, I am hoping there might be room for negotiation.

See you both at the gates.

Kahless said...

Do what I do; delete them if they are not published within a week! that way they dont become a burden of unfinishedness!

And I am sure St Peter will just wave you through the gates Signs.

R.H. said...

Jack is correct, sometimes first words can't be bettered, but he revised as much as anybody.

Reading the Signs said...

Why didn't I think of that, Kahless? But - but. Even deleted things go somewhere. And Saint Peter will just know.

Hi r.h. - I think On the Road was published more or less as it came out, at JK's insistence. For most of us, revision is essential, but sometimes a piece of work can be perfected to within an inch of its life.

R.H. said...

In my maiden appearance as a blog reply person I got into trouble with someone called Chickenfish for doubting On The Road was a first draft. It wasn't, there were several, and it's finally been admitted.

I've tried reading the thing anyway and fallen asleep. It's rubbish.

R.H. said...

A phrase, or a sentence, or even a small paragraph can pop up perfect first time.

But thousands of words? Never.

R.H. said...

Even Mania needs revision.

Reading the Signs said...

It was the original that was the published one. Straight from the horse's mouth. And it's fab.
(even if you did fall asleep while reading):)

And it isn't about whether something is perfect or not. Sometimes the less perfect thing is the better.

R.H. said...

What original, which one? He revised, drafted, the publisher admitted it. Goodness me don't get daunted by this sort of gimmickry darlings, it's bullshit; everyone revises. There's no finish to a thing, it doesn't happen.

"Sometimes the less perfect thing is better" is an unfortunate remark.

R.H. said...

Forget about it. I can't get philosophical, people will laugh.

Reading the Signs said...

The original "novel" draft. 'Tis documented.

The remark was was good. Logic be damned.