Full confession: I got no work done on the essay over the weekend, but since when has a lack of production ever stopped a Lichtenbergian?
Let's look at a bit I did write on Thursday:
On the left, a portion of Mary Oliver's essay, "The Ponds," which I've copied by hand and paid attention to as I did so. On the right, my attempt to create a paragraph that does the same thing, i.e., "name the home," as my scribbled note says.
The important thing to notice is the absolute mess of my work as opposed to the calm poise of Oliver's prose, and the important thing to realize is that this is the way most work starts off. Very few paragraphs that you will ever read were written straight up in their final form. Mine certainly aren't.
I will admit that this one is particularly messy, and that's because I'm wrestling with someone else's impulses and someone else's style. Because I'm working with good old-fashioned pen and paper, you can see my first thoughts, my immediate regrets, some true ABORTIVE ATTEMPTS, and some meagre attempts at SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION.