Friday, April 2, 2010

Clock Guts

Keep a collection of your insights, eavesdropped conversations, weird fragments. I tell you, it's fascinating. Especially months or years later-- you think, where did I get that?

If you write, keeping a record of these jotted down quirky coils of words is invaluable. Even if you don't it's pretty entertaining.

I call them clock guts.

I have piles of “clock guts”—exquisite, fragmented scenes and sentences; odd phrases. Sometimes I try to transform them into a smoothly running, ticking machine. A narrative. A novel.
 F. Scott Fitzgerald kept notebooks of brief entries under headings: Descriptions, Atmosphere, Titles, Names, Ideas, Etc.

Example: "Age offered no release. She still enjoyed being kissed after too much sherry, though now the uninspired mouth of a chauffeur would suffice."[Read more from this NYer article}

 So, anybody have some interesting guts to share?

Here are a few random clock guts from my own collection: 
I bought Seahorses buy for a dime each a Myrtle Beach gift store, dried and hard, hundreds stacked in a bowl by the cash register like peanuts or chips. Now I was fluid and soft with feeling.

There were three of us and I was the smart one--like, if were were Charlie’s Angels-- I’d be Kate Jackson.

A story called “here’s your problem right here.” The repairman comes in and solves the leak quickly and the lady wishes it applied to other things in life.

Promise Keepers always hire me.
Now I found myself picking through all those facts she had casually tossed my way— a hodgepodge of confessions as cluttered as the jumble of cans in our kitchen pantry.
A week after Halloween, and the pumpkins are truly horrible. Moldy and soft, their sunken  grins toothless and lopsided, their eyes slanted and uneven, unshaven, old-folks sunken, the ravages of time, the entropy, the true story they tell.

"It's a pity that you have such awful grandmothers," my mother told me, "and I had such interesting ones."

I was out to score some X because my husband was dying.

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