I’m just now wrapping up a 6,000-word story called “Summer of Skin.”

When I write, I tend to copy and paste notes and research and bits that end up getting cut from the manuscript to the bottom of the draft, so that by the end of, say, a 6,000-word story, I have ten or twenty pages of “extra” material. And then, once I’m at the stage I am now, I copy and paste all of that into another document, titled something like “Summer of Skin—Notes.”

Here are some outtakes from the notes of the current story, which will soon be sent out into the world in crisp manila envelopes:

From some instructions I found on the Internet about how to make a homemade tattoo gun:

6. Now take the eraser from the pencil and shove it onto the shaft of the motor. Try to get it as dead center as possible. Join the pen/needle/toothbrush to the motor/eraser assembly. Tape the brush to the motor.

I haven’t worked at the dog food factory in seven or eight years, but I still wake up some evenings for a night shift at some other place—a gas station, the clean-up crew at the hog plant—and smell the salty meat stink of the stuff on my skin, like it’s coming right out of my pores. I wonder if it’ll ever stop.

Did the boy know that you had to try and hold some fathers down? That if you didn’t, they would never stop moving?

The final draft of the thing is from a dad’s point-of-view; earlier notes included snippets written from his kid’s point-of-view:

Mom had a couple tats. Famously, she had a set of eyes inked on her breasts, a few inches above her nipples.

Those eyes did make it into the final draft, but, as I said, not from the kid’s point of view.

I doubt these snippets will be of all that much interest to anyone (unless, that is, you’re planning to try and make a homemade tattoo gun in the near future) but I wanted to blog them simply because that moment of transference, when I copy and paste all the crap into a blank document and I’m cleaning up that final draft, man, I love doing that. It feels as good as just about anything.


Flood said...

This is really interesting. Thanks for the glimpse.

Anonymous said...

those notes make a really fly poem, except that they don't say anything about batman. what up with that?

i did like the one about holding fathers down. you the man.