Editing for GESTALT

After wasting yesterday morning creating a logo for the new Backstreet Arts writers group—these things are important, you guys—I did get around to reconciling the chapters on SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION and GESTALT.

But first you need to see the final BACKSTREET Writers logo.

I did change the Backstreet to all caps and fixed the letter spacing (-5%).  The Writers font is American Typewriter, although I went with regular and not light.  The inkblots are the Sherlock special font.  I also decided to add the vertical red line to drive home the notebook paper background.

So there you go, the new BACKSTREET Writers group logo, appearing soon at coffee shops near you.

Here's what happened with chapters 6 and 7. 

One of my most productive TASK AVOIDANCE strategies when working on Lichtenbergianism: procrastination as a creative strategy is to skip around to the other chapters and look over areas that are not actually what I'm supposed to be working on.  I figure that even if I waste an entire morning working on an unscheduled chapter, it's still work on the book, right?

The other day I was doing just that while working on the chapter on SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION: I jumped to the next chapter on GESTALT, and that's when I realized that I had related exactly the same anecdote in both chapters. 

Both times I told the exact same story about how we—while working on a "hot glue and cardboard" presentation of William Blake's Inn—came up with and developed a troupe of traveling sunflower puppets.  Same images, same narrative, same everything.  I have no clue why I did this, although I'm sure I must have thought at the time I would clean it up later.  SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION, after all.

It did create a bit of an existential crisis.  Were SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION and GESTALT actually two separate Precepts?  I'm still thinking they are, although you really can't have one without the other.  Here's my thinking at this point: I think it's important for the reader to realize that you have to start whether you can do it "right" or not (ABORTIVE ATTEMPTS); you have to be willing to make it "righter" (SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION); and while you're doing that, you have to be able to assess what's missing from the work (GESTALT).  

On the whole, I think those are important enough concepts to remain separated in the book.

So I printed out both sections and began marking what needed to move where.  In the end it proved scarily simple: I moved almost the entire narrative from GESTALT over to SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION, wrapping the section up with a teaser, "How did we do it?  We'll look at that process in the next chapter on GESTALT."  There were some transitions to write, and I'm still going to have to make sure all the material is at home there, but as we all know, an ABORTIVE ATTEMPT is an ABORTIVE ATTEMPT.

And of course now I have to buckle down and write explicitly about the GESTALT process in designing/creating those puppets.

William Blake's Inn,  May 2007

William Blake's Inn, May 2007