news writing

The Frame Ends and the World Begins

Hello! I took a bit of time off work to do Evernost rewrite/revision, and while I wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped to be, I at least hit a major milestone. And I came up with an experimental strategy for revising: turning the prose into poetry and back again. In theory, it will help me condense my language and get a broader aesthetic and conceptual idea of what I’m doing. In reality, it’s hard and I haven’t gotten far enough to see whether this is the case, but I’m going to keep trying.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share an edited version of a typically peculiar writing exercise I did with one of my writing groups. The prompt was to write something about an picture we chose. I chose a magazine ad, and I’m not even sure I understand what I wrote anymore…. I’ve made my best guesses, but no promises:

We entered the supposedly empty classroom. A dude stood in front of the running projector, dressed in white. The image resolution was junk. Were the red parts on the transparency flowers or folds? We couldn’t even tell.

We didn’t realize he was an image too until we noticed that the magenta arrow on the transparency covered his shadow. The arrow came from almost nowhere, pointing at the area where his neck joined his head. (Though he never moved or spoke. That would have tipped us off eventually.)

Not even a hologram—just a flat image rendered so much more meticulously than its background that we’d been fooled. “Wow, he looks real,” I said.

“Worlds within worlds, and fictions within fictions!” my friend exclaimed, throwing up her hands in mock excitement. “Isn’t that a bit cliche, though.”

“Sure is,” I agreed. I stepped in front of the projector and lost the third and fourth dimensions—no time, no movement.

“@#%!” she said, or said she’d said afterward. She turned the projector off, and, instead of disappearing with the arrow and the background, the white-tee-shirt dude looked around in clear confusion.

“%@#!” he said. “That upload device actually works. What is this @$#? They were supposed to send me to New York, where am I?”

“Colorado,” we chorused.

“It happened to you too,” my friend told me. “Whoever left this transparency on the projector is gonna wish they had it back….”

“No!” the guy said. “Get me back in the transparency and mail me to New York ASAP. I expect there will be a reward. This technology must not fall into the wrong hands…”


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