0.0) Starting A Book

The End Of The World In Five Rebirths

indi.ca

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My wife keeps telling me to write a book, Shehan is telling me to write a book, and even I find myself telling the same stories over and over again. I write at least 20 articles a week and have been batting at that pace for years. I’ve been blogging for two decades all in. If it was just a matter of word count, a book should be easy. I produce a ‘book’ every few months. But of course it’s not the same thing.

A blog, like a bog, is a place you can visit every day and just shit something out. I do it all the time. I’m quite regular. A book is something else, like a baby or something. I honestly don’t know, I can’t make either one.

The problem with the blogging method vs. the booking method is one of editing. A blog, or at least my blogs, are single utterances. If I’m really feeling it I just get the title in my head and I can freestyle the whole post in one take. If anyone interrupts me during this period I yell at them and are quite petulant. By anyone I mean my wife. Anyways.

Growing up my biggest literary influences were rappers. Poets like Nas, Wu-Tang, and Outkast. These are poets à la Homer or Valmiki, OG oral culture. A rapper must be able to free-style, and increasingly, rap songs became free-styled more and more often. As The Game said, “this rap shit is basic, I followed that Jay shit, Think of what I wanna say, step in the booth and one-take it.”

Lil Wayne ripped up all of his notebooks on 10,000 Bars and never wrote a rhyme down again. Over the last 20 years, however, he has been prolific. His method is to smoke a lot of weed, do a lot of codeine, and record incessently. He is always publishing, mix tapes, albums, even rock music. Wayne will get in there and ‘one-take it’ a dozen times until he gets it right. You have to start each verse again. That’s simply the only way of editing in oral culture, even with digital editing. It’s not just the words, you have to get the flowright. Editing means starting that verse over.

This is how I’ve always approached blog writing. Each post is a verse, and if one word is wrong I go back and start it over. Everything gets rewritten in ‘one-take’, even if it takes a dozen times. Which is often does. This is fine for writing a 1,000 word blog post, but…

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indi.ca

Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at www.indi.ca, or just email me at indi@indi.ca.