Devotion ~ Question #5 The Vision

Devotion by ‎Patti Smith

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SnoopyDances
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Devotion ~ Question #5 The Vision

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:35 pm

"Fate has a hand but is not the hand. I was looking for something and found something else, the trailer of a film. Moved by a sonorous though alien voice, words poured. I went on a journey lured by a jukebox of lights conjuring a symphony of reference points. I threaded a world that was not even my own, wandering the abstract streets of Patrick Modiano. I read a book, introduced to the mystic activism of Simone Weil. I watched a figure skater, wholly beguiled.

I began to write the piece entitled Devotion on the train from Paris to Sete…"
(Devotion p. 27)


As you read the first part of the book, could you envision the story that was to become Devotion? :noodlemantra:

After you read the second part, Devotion itself, did all of Patti's jumbled notes make more sense? :agree2:

Or were you more confused? :perplexed2:

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Devotion ~ Question #5 The Vision

Unread postby stroch » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:34 pm

I rather thought that she was giving us clues about her thought processes in writing her story, but that was probably because I accidentally opened the book to a section about skating on the pond, and then went back to the Paris stuff. So I wasn't confused, just perplexed as to why she would choose the technique.
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Devotion ~ Question #5 The Vision

Unread postby fireflydances » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:33 pm

I agree. Stories don't necessarily get written in the order that they appear on the page. And they are constantly evolving, adding elements, dropping out entire scenes or characters.

I think that Patti was giving her a sense of her process in terms of where inspiration can take a person: the slightest tingle of an idea, fragments of images, going deeper, etc. Each writer has a process that works. I love that Murakami says he goes into "weird, secret places in myself" and that King talks about “a way of saying to the mind, you’re going to be dreaming.” Stories are never logical outputs, as an essay might be. The short story process has more in common with painting or song-writing or even decorating a room. It's gut level, dream level. Images that come out of nowhere and then suddenly open for you into another whole reality. There really is a sense of letting go of the conscious mind, of drifting or day-dreaming.

After the inspiration, comes the hard part. You know your character in a general almost moody sense. You now take all that and ask yourself 30 or 40 questions about "who" this person is. Your answers continue the day dream but build a stronger image. Then dialogue, in which the words need to "spot on" fit with the character and move your reader along with the action. And plot events that are necessary and not just clutter.

So, she showed us a bit. Her final story may have been worked for days, or weeks or even months. Some writers write a piece straight out, one burst of inspiration, and then let the piece lay fallow, sit on a back shelf. They come back and maybe they fiddle with the thing a bit, and maybe there wholesale re-drafting of sections.

If you've ever knit sweater, sewed a dress, made curtains you have gone from inspiration to color, to fabric, to pattern or no pattern, to stuff that comes out perfect, and stuff that needs to be ripped out and begun again. All creative efforts are a combination of bursts, starts and stops, and improvisation.
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Devotion ~ Question #5 The Vision

Unread postby SnoopyDances » Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:15 pm

I was waiting for a few more replies before chiming in...Here goes.

Given the grim nature of Ristuules and the various writers, Patti was channeling in the first part of the book, I figured the story would come to an unhappy conclusion. It was clear to me that the main character would be living an unhappy life, the only question was if that life would change once she found love.

After reading the second part, Devotion, it was clear that she neither found love or would have happiness. I suppose the cynic in me saw it coming, but the romantic side (a very small side of me) was still hoping for a happier resolution.

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Devotion ~ Question #5 The Vision

Unread postby nebraska » Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:42 pm

I wasn't anticipating anything at all when I read the first section of the book. To me, it read like Patti's travel tales in M Train -- a lot of little thoughts and details about what was going on in her life and around her. It was only when I started reading the story that I saw how she put everything together, taking bits and pieces, embellishing and stringing them together. And I looked back at my own fiction-writing days and realized that we had a similar process. That was oddly affirming for me.

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Devotion ~ Question #5 The Vision

Unread postby Theresa » Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:55 pm

I guess I didn't envision anything with her writing. It just seemed like a short story in the middle of a different book...an extension of M Train. At first all I could think of was "more graves", like M Train.


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