Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 75

I am going to continue my trip report tomorrow, I think.  It takes more time to deal with the photos and today I'm going to focus on work.

I worked all day and into the night yesterday.  I have solved all the large to medium/large problems in the play and am now left with small to medium problems.  I had thought this advance would be welcome.  Instead I find myself missing the large problems.  The large problems intimidate because they seem unsolvable.  The small problems, however, seem so picayune as to be beneath one's effort and time.  For example, Sam, one of my characters, has gotten fired before the play starts.  The reason she got fired could or could not be important.  I mean, I could make it interesting and expositive of her essential flaws and character (and should, I know).  Or I could just say she did some random X and move on.  It's not a sexy question, at least not yet.  But I have to infuse her backstory with the same amount of effort and love as everything else.  Genius, as Henry James said, is an infinite capacity for taking pains.  I think about that quote often.  (I'm not saying I'm a genius, obviously.  But only that it's what I aspire to.. genius in the work, I mean.  In this work at least).  It's like in Pawn of Prophecy (another touchstone book in my life, believe it or not)--Durnik telling Garion that he works as hard on the iron joints that are under the wagon, that no one will see, as those above.

Actually that's not relevant here, now that I think about it.  Sam's backstory will be seen, albeit glancingly.  The point is, yes, big things are made of small things, and God is in the details and all that, but details are hard to engage for the very reason that they are details.  You want to build continents, not figure out the color pattern on the scales of the snake that lives in one corner of the barn in the hero's first girlfriend's barn.  But, in the end, that's how you build a continent.  By working out all the snake scales.

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