Jon Udelson
“I Start with...”




[video of Jon writing in bottom right]

I start with myself composing, save for music I am unaided, solitary, still probably the common conception of writing.

[image of stack of books in top right]

Then in come the works of fiction, which I read, which I draw from, and which have inspired me to write fiction myself.

[video of hands on a keyboard in top right]

Then come in my typing hands.

[video of word-processing screen with writing]

And finally the composition and the pages themselves.

You'll notice my hands are not in sync with the other composing processes. What you're watching is actually a representation of four different writing sessions.

And the reason I put this together was, first, because I made a mistake in the original edit, but then decided to use the mistake as an integral element of the video.

So the same way I might accidentally write something in my fiction such as "he banged at the AC unit" instead of "on the AC," I will then interrogate that mistake and think about whether it could be a remarkable aspect to include in the fiction.

In the top right corner, you'll notice I continually grab at those books. I will take them. I will read parts of them. For rhythm. For cadence. For a particular interaction in dialogue. To work out a particular plot line. And I will do this to get a sense of a movement I am perhaps trying to draw from. To create myself. To evolve.

[video of stack of books being picked up, set down in top right]

So in this way the books I have always read continue to help me write new fiction.

My body, you'll continue to notice, is still out of sync with my hands. Both are out of sync with the page as it is being composed.

The processes to me are separate--in space, in time, but all finally converge at the level of production on the page.

In the bottom left, you'll see now I opened up a new screen. And what I am writing here is a passage I am copying out of a book. I do this sometimes when I get stuck, or when I want to understand the particular feel of constructing sentences. And I want to try to understand what the writer was considering--the decisions she was making when she was composing.

I leave but the composing process continues in a variety of forms, without me necessarily having to be at the computer screen.

[four video boxes disappear; screen goes black]