Friday, November 16, 2007

pCARL Journal #1

"where the wolves are killed off, the foxes increase..."

Hello, fellow pCARLers, random guests, and people searching for pictures of wolves!

I've decided that as a means of keeping pCARL going, and to possibly provide support for those also endevoring, and to possibly befuddle the random readerby, I will be logging a journal of sorts as I begin to pCARL The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville. That way, there is some proof that this wasn't just an idea I wantonly birthed into the internet, but a project I am doing, albeit slowly.

If you are also doing a pCARL, and would like to share your experiences, completed or partial, do feel free to upload! We might be able to even work out a guest spot! A good number of people expressed interest to me in doing one, whether they actually get on board or not. So let's hear about it, folks.

Well, in my first foray into re-writing, I learned some interesting lessons.


it will probably take me a lot longer than I thought. The ability to maintain interest in doing this dies after a few pages. The last thing I want to make this into is a chore, so I'm just going to let my interest guide me. Maybe I will quit after a week or two, but we'll see.


Format. Although I thought it would be a lot of fun to write the book up on our manual typewriter, I scrapped this idea because of the paper it would waste. I decided to save a tree, and do it on the computer, thereby killing salmon, because here in the northwest we get all our power from the nature concentration camps they call hydroelectric power.

Also a question of format: deciding from what source to get Melville's book. I have my own copy, which was the original one I read. However, there are many footnotes by the editor in this version, and I thought I would like to at least start from a "pure" copy. Since there was a copy available on Project Gutenberg (a fantastic site by the way, that probably deserves its own lauditory blog post) I decided to use that. Even more supporting this choice is the fact that then I can keep the window viewing the text open right next to the window where I am typing. This prevents me having to type with one hand, or break the spine of the book.


One of the very first things I noticed upon beginning the actual re-writing was that it takes some care to keep this from becoming merely a typing lesson. It immediately felt like a typing test; I was trying to fly through the text as fast as possible, looking only what I was reading, and not what I was writing. To do otherwise makes the process take a lot longer, but is much more rewarding. To actually see Melville's words coming out of my cursor, I got a more feeling of "owning" the text, having it pass through me as I transcribed it, rather than it being a "spinal" reflex of sorts. This is what I think will take the most effort and concentration throughout this project--at least, as noted so far. I will definitely keep you up to date as I work on this issue, letting you know what helps and what doesn't.

All told, I got through four pages in my first machinations. Not so far you say? On the contrary! Look at some of the great lines I wrote! This first quotation at the top of this post, for example: my favorite line I re-wrote. Or, how about this one:

"Illy pleased with his pertinacity, as they thought it, the crowd a second time thrust him aside, and not without epithets and some buffets, all of which were unresented."

Whoa! You don't even need to know to what it is referring, just look at it! Some excellent alliteration and rhymes, a couple of oddly used negatives ("illy pleased" and "unresented") and one independent clause flanked by two dependent clauses on each side. What a sentence, eh? I'm pleased I re-wrote it!

Also, I made one change, only of one word, but that will have great ramifications throughout the rest of the book. The impact will be thematic, and metaphysical to the text, and will play an important part in my Introduction. But I won't tell you what it is yet! You will just have to wait and see.

Well, that's it for now, but what a start it was. Be sure to check back for what happens next, in pCARL 2007!

1 comment:

coalman.scarecrow said...

hey, i've gotten "martin eden" broken down into 820 discrete segments, which i have decided to randomize and rewrite out of order as a way of keeping it interesting and making it a bit less of, as you put it, a typing exercise. right now i'm working on a cluster of every segment that includes the word "awkward," just because i thought that'd be a funny way to start, but i'm going to try to work out the methodology further. it's been interesting so far, though.