Thoughts on Process

I had so much interest in responding to Kim’s weblog and her thoughts on voice I thought I would post the response:

I have relaxed so much on voice and even stealing. I have been reading Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz and Singing from the Well by Arenas and I am stealing. I am not plagiarizing but I am stealing. I like the idea of stealing and not borrowing, meaning I allow myself to follow their scene and summary pattern like following a specific outline–I give them to my students in Comp and they write better more organized papers. So I tell myself I will write this many words of summary and this many words of scene. It helps me–and I bring my own worlds to that outline.

As for voice, I really have relaxed on that too. I tell myself to just tell the story in a simple way–I call it free writing or whatever–but it helps me get it down. I feel I have allowed myself to fail–allowed myself to create something to hack away at. Also David Keplinger asked me specifically who I wrote to. I had no idea what he was meaning. And then he asked again, who do you write to? Like I am writing a letter or a note to somebody and that was exactly what he meant. He told me he imagined writing to whomever he was dating at the time–or a cousin on the phone he hadn’t spoken to in a long time who he really wanted to understand. I keep that in mind and just allow myself to tell it–like I’m talking to you or D in a coffee shop and really want you to empathize with the old neighborhood or Lolo. I think that is important–we allow ourselves to just tell it before we get into higher thoughts of rhetoric or intent.

Published by john paul jaramillo

John Paul Jaramillo was born and raised in southern Colorado. His stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including the Acentos Review, Palabra, A Magazine of Chicano and Latino Literary Art, and most recently in Duende. His collection The House of Order: Stories was named an International Latino Book Award Finalist and his novel in stories Little Mocos is forthcoming from Twelve Winters Press. In 2013 the editors of Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature listed Jaramillo as one of its Top 10 New Latino Authors to Watch and Read.

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