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When I wrote my essay, The Beach, I started telling a true story from my life.  Because I was retelling events, the first draft (getting the event on paper) was just a linear telling of the event.  Future drafts incorporated details, emotions, and characterization that painted images.  I guess my story evolved like a string of beads.  The string was the chronological order in which the events occurred and each bead was the fleshing out of a character or setting or feeling.  My friend Amy once pitched an idea of a book to me in which she offers a collection of stories described as a String of Pearls. I guess the creative process I use when writing an essay is more like a string of raw clay beads.  Each bead is imperfect and pliable.  In the dark cool space of my mind the beads are reshaped draft after draft then finally tempered when exposed to the light of day.  Of course, this has to be some kind of magic clay that can be sent back into the dark to become pliable again because upon critique in the light of day changes will have to be made.  Maybe the tempering occurs after publishing.  That seems right although even then there could be changes.  I guess it’s good to string up beads of clay.  The beads can always be ground back to dust and with a little rain the process starts all over again.

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