Gail Godwin: The Method

by authorameai

“… to have invented any event or man would have been a violation of my most crucial rule for this type of writing.”
—James McConkey

“As a writing man, or secretary, I have always felt charged with the safekeeping of all unexpected items of worldly or unworldly enchantment, as though I might be held personally responsible if even a small one were to be lost.”
—E.B.White, “The Ring of Time”

I have not left much out of this book because I have learned from Edward Tufte, an expert on information design, never to discard information, but to organize it more effectively. Part I is representational naturalism, or nonfiction. Much of this book is a diary. The value of diaries has seemed to diminish, as it has become much of a fad online with the creation of blogs. From brief studies of remembrance in public schools though, I know the value of diaries to lie in the accurate record keeping so that others may come to understand the life of a true, rather than fictional, person. I know the American public takes a perverse interest in other people’s affairs and has been interested in autobiographies as early as the very beginning of the discovery of America and beyond. I think though, that my autobiography will be the first autobiography to also be an artistic endeavor and philosophical and revolutionary cry for change. All of Part I is based on focus-free, stream of consciousness, notes taken from age twelve to the end of undergraduate school, with the exception of some transitional sentences. I have used other material before age twelve that were not notes. All dialogue has been accurately recorded since it was recorded the day of the event soon after I heard the dialogue. I took very accurate notes. I am glad that it is in my adolescence that I have written so many notes because it prompts my memory to remind me how life was when I was younger. The notes I took varied in size of font (about one-sixteenth of an inch to a half inch tall depending on what I had to work with), in medium (napkins, paper, scraps of paper, post-it notes, and date books), and in writing utensils (pencils, pens, markers, crayons, eyeliner, and lipstick). Most notes ran together so I had to decipher from context where an idea would end. The notes I had from senior year of high school until senior year of college filled seven Amazon.com boxes, not to mention random notes I typed and saved on the computer. I also included diary entries from childhood that only filled a box or two. I began typing these notes into a computer in the beginning of my junior year of college. I felt that I had stabilized enough by then to handle the emotions that stirred in me in high school. Some days I would do nothing all day, but type, even when it hurt my wrists. I mostly edited by cutting out unnecessary and redundant diary entries, filling in the blank spots that needed transitions, and checking for grammatical consistency. I had even written how I wanted the layout in my notes. Mostly I have tried to keep the notes exactly as I have written them.

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