Topical Guide 421
Writing (and Drawing): Drafting
Writing (and Drawing): Revising
Reservations Recommended, Chapter 1:
“I’ll be right back,” says Belinda. She leaves for the ladies’ room. Matthew tries a mental draft:
The waiters mispronounce the names of the foods they serve, and the menu misspells them. Perhaps this is all that contemporary sophistication amounts to — the conviction that one knows more than one does.
No, that’s not quite it.
Perhaps this is all that contemporary sophistication amounts to — ignorance denied.
That isn’t it, either.
Quite possibly the Alley View represents the height of contemporary sophistication, which is to say the flaunting of ignorance as if it were a virtue. The staff here doesn’t really know anything about food or service or dining or the luxe life to which they pretend; all they’ve done is replace their parents’ paltry small-town ignorance with a paltry urban ignorance.
It needs work, Matthew recognizes that, but now he has a theme, and that’s the key.
From his earliest student days, Degas had used tracing paper to transfer an image from a printed source to his own notebooks. Later, in the 1890s, he began to use tracing paper extensively to draw and redraw his own images. “Make a drawing, begin it again, trace it; begin it again and trace it again,” he would say, as if by repeatedly drawing lines he could finally seize the very essence of a form.
Aux quelques rares jeunes peintres auxquels il voulait bien donner des avis, il répétait sans cesse: “Faites un dessin, recommencez-le, calquez-le; recommencez-le, et calquez-le encore.”
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You’ll find overviews of the entire work in An Introduction to The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy (a pdf document) and at Encyclopedia.com.