The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Saturday, June 10, 2006




Patricia Parkinson

If I had to put all the words I wanted to write in a straight line, I couldn’t do it. It wouldn’t be straight. It would be a curve, not a circle, that would be redundant, redundancy is boring. My words would be a curve, with, well, an arc!! Yes. Writing is a curve, a shape - the shape of a woman.

The toes of a woman are often the oddest part of her body. An interesting beginning to a story, a weird first line to get the readers attention could start with a foot or a toe, painted red or pigeon toed or a longer second toe than the big toe, which, they say, is a sign of intelligence. I don’t have a longer second toe.

Feet are a good place to start. Solid, on the ground - feet are the things that get us through life, from one place to the next. As if I’m telling you something you don’t already know. Anyway.

Ankles lead to the first curve. Women’s ankles may hold a past – they’re a receding curve - a memory of sling backs or silk stockings or maybe white knee socks and a kiss by a boy in a cloak room that has lingered in longing and provides the right about of vulnerability in the writing for the reader to trust the story we are attempting to tell. Ankles give us the desire to read on and find out what happens next, which brings us to the reward for the wait, also known as, calves.

Calves are where we meet the protagonist. We will either fall in love or not care one-way or the other about our protagonist if the calve curve is not handled correctly. Let’s face it. Who does not like women’s calves? It’s universal admiration.

The thighs of a of a woman, especially a woman born figure skating, provide a hell-on wheels antagonist - a hard care unbending bitch of a woman that knows nothing of resolution or change. This is the wrong type of antagonist. A perfect antagonist has thighs like me! They are somewhat, flexible, I refuse to say, flabby, yet, when tanned well, just because my thighs don’t look strong doesn’t mean they aren’t. And well, change cannot occur unless there is some…leeway.

Beyond the thighs, well, let’s go further than that, the most erotic stories I’ve read about the curve beyond the thighs are best if subtly implied.

Imagine it anyway you like.

For me, the body of story, the heart of story, lies not in the heart of woman, but in her belly, in her gut. In the curve that speaks the loudest, knows the truth, which I really hate at times, and is often not listened to. The gut is where we learn about conflict and turmoil, in my gut anyway, seldom is it calm. Confusion is a state I am learning to live with. Why the stomach and not the back? I asked myself when proofing this. The back is flexible, bending sometimes aching, would it not make more sense for the body of a story to lie there? No! We read a book from front to back. The stomach comes before the back and this piece isn’t going that far, don’t worry.

So, we have, a beginning, some exposition, let us not forget the ankles, the introduction of a protagonist, an antagonist, the story...and… oh yeah, I can’t forget what I set out to do. There is a point to be made here after all.

The arc! The arc is a woman’s breasts! Gotta be. The climax. The peak, regardless of how ridiculous this sounds, are in the boobs. The arc, where the reader holds his or her breath as the events learned in the gut come to a head. How perfect! It’s like I planned it. The head.

The final part of a story, the part of a woman that holds the most curves, is her mind. A woman’s mind holds the key to conflict, the capacity to understand and empathize, and most importantly, the mind holds a knowledge of emotion and this insight, if we dare, gives us the ability to express these feelings, the pain, the loss, hopefully the joy without fear. The story might not stop here, as this analogy is based on a woman and we all know it's a woman's perogative to change her mind, the plot line might come to another curve instead of to the end.


Blogger Nance Knauer said...

beautifully done, Patricia. a curve and not a circle. yes to all of it, especially the belly.

Sat Jun 10, 01:14:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger jmmfaria said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sat Jun 10, 07:01:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger jmmfaria said...

To touch the curves of a woman's body is to know the secrets of storytelling as it unfolds in the palm of your hand. The arcs are endless, the plots sublime.

Patricia, there's an honesty, a richness to your words that go beyond what's written, it's the words you leave unspoken. The imagination. The longing, to reach the end.

Sat Jun 10, 07:12:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger kim said...

Patricia, I'm inspired, once again. I really hope you keep all of these and someday put them together. I know it would end up being my favorite writing book, the pages would be folded at nearly every corner, marked up, and have lots of orange Cheeto stains.

Oh, and thanks for the reminder..I want to wear the red toenail polish tonight....

Sat Jun 10, 07:15:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Myfanwy Collins said...

As always, beautiful, Patricia.

Sat Jun 10, 10:44:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger MelBell said...

Absolutely lovely post, Patricia.

Sat Jun 10, 12:04:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

Awwww...thanks for commenting, my dear friends, and hey Kim, you never know!!! I only have four pages so far...lololol I like the picture of this post the best and to be honest, felt a bit, well, weird about posting know...cuz I'm a bit of a whacko!! thanks for reading...xoxo I hope everyone is having a great weekend..xoxoxo

Sat Jun 10, 01:41:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

Lovely Patricia, thank you!

Sat Jun 10, 01:46:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Kelly said...

This is the essence of your beauty and voice, my friend. There is such a strong sense of you here and every word is well crafted and beautiful. Lovely.

Sun Jun 11, 07:18:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

I have the best friends, thank mean so much to me..xoxoxo

Sun Jun 11, 09:25:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger craig said...

Love it - a beautifully rendered analogy. Yes, of course, who doesn't love a woman's calves?

Wonderfully written post, Patricia.

Sun Jun 11, 10:38:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

Thanks baby xoxoxo I am just reading your post!! we so rock...xox

Mon Jun 12, 01:18:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

fabulous writing, as always. I've been wondering where you went...

Tue Jun 13, 12:19:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

on my lovely friend, you are my angel of the internet I swear..xoxoxo

Tue Jun 13, 03:15:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

Well. If we ever put out a book of the best posts, this one has to be in there. Stunning.

Wed Jun 14, 03:26:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

Excellent piece, Patricia! Funny and sexy, a killer cocktail.

Mon Jun 19, 12:40:00 pm GMT-4  

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