Schrijven is kijken

juni 24, 2013


“What is the essence of what you see? No measuring! Quick!

“Find the gesture. Don’t worry about the details. What is the essence of that pose?”

“How does that pose feel to the model? The whole pose — quick, quick! No, not the arm or the leg. The line of the energy. What is that pose about?”

“Step back and see it — really see it — whole.”

Toen ze bijkluste als naaktmodel in de tekenacademie van Berkeley begreep de Amerikaanse schrijfster Rachel Howard opeens dat de instructies van de docent ‘snelschetsen naar levend model’ ook voor het schrijven van een roman perfect geschikt waren. Hier beschrijft ze hoe ze, aarzelend, de ‘gesture drawing’-techniek toepaste op haar eigen stijl:

“I left my laptop at my desk and moved to the other side of the room to sit on the floor with my notebook. I chose a scene that involved a woman and a man sitting at a table with a priest, going over the results of a premarital counseling questionnaire.

I knew what happened in the scene, and what each character said, but when I’d tried to write it on my computer, the results were clunky. I kept trying to make the scene better by adding more about the woman’s thoughts and tinkering with the dialogue.

Step back. See it whole. Sitting on the floor with my notebook, I didn’t worry about words, about sentences. I thought about how the woman and her fiancé were sitting next to each other at the table, how the priest was wearing a high-necked orange sweater, how the woman’s fiancé assumed the priest didn’t know about “intimacy” with a woman . . . click. Yes, it was so much more interesting from the husband-to-be’s point of view!”

Tenslotte citeert ze de Russische literatuur theoreticus Viktor Shklovsky. In zijn “Theory of Prose” legt hij het verschil uit tussen een oppervlakkige beschrijving in woorden en het gebruik van woorden om een dieper inzicht te dienen:

“And so, in order to return sensation to our limbs, in order to make us feel objects, to make a stone feel stony, man has been given the tool of art. The purpose of art, then, is to lead us to a knowledge of a thing through the organ of sight instead of recognition.” He goes on to say, “The purpose of the image is not to draw our understanding closer to that which the image stands for, but rather to allow us to perceive the object in a special way, in short to lead us to a “vision” of this object[.]”

(NYT, The Opiniator)


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