Robin Hawke

March 13, 2012, 5:24 PM
Filed under: Three Sentence Stories

The patron insisted on a signature. The artist grabbed a permanent marker and scrawled his trademark, bottom right. It faded—proving that permanent markers are as temporary as marks of recognition.

I struggled with the final phrase of this story. I began with  ‘permanent markers are undependable’ and, in quick order, substituted ‘as temporary as fame,’ ‘as recognition,’ and ‘as immortality.’ None of these worked for me, not true enough, though I minded Warhol’s pithy fifteen minutes. The image of a shooting star came into my head, showing me one solution. Aren’t stars living?  When we reference stars of past eras, aren’t we recognizing their immortal gifts? The final phrase became “as temporary as stardom.” I reread all three sentences and realized the story I intended to write was about work that spoke for itself–yet the insistence of collectors against anonymity. For examples, read Etsy listings in which the artist describes the work as signed. Wouldn’t that be understood? Or if the work isn’t signed, would it matter? Either one likes it enough to buy or one doesn’t?

This is the first time I’ve discussed my process in the body of the post. Do you like this experiment?


6 Comments so far
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Yes, I liked your three sentence story and also your description of process. When I read, “temporary as stardom,” I thought that might work too. But really, I think we strive for recognition more than we strive for stardom.

Comment by columbibueno

Yes, I liked reading about your thought process, too. I think it adds to my understanding of the story you’ve written. Sometimes it’s easy for a reader to think, “Oh, good writers just know how to write well.” Of course, in reality good writing means a lot of hard work and decision making. I definitely enjoy hearing about the different ideas you had while you were working.

Comment by jmmcdowell

I like reading about your thought process, because I often go through the same thing myself.

Comment by Janet

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I’m not sure I can keep it up. It seems that I spend more time thinking about what to write about in the afterword than the story. I’ll give it a few weeks though!

Comment by Robin Hawke

I found myself looking for alternatives to ‘proving’ something stopped me there. “Discovering” perhaps, or even leaving the verb out and making it more of a statement, a great one to play with and loved the thought process dimension. What would Francine Prose have said I wonder? Thanks for the mini-workshop.

Comment by Claire 'Word by Word'

You are right! It’s the words we gloss over that turn out to be the ones we should have edited first. Thanks!

Comment by Robin Hawke

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