Writers talk of “killing your darlings”—the ruthless side of writing, where we need to excise whole sentences or paragraphs or even pages but find it excruciatingly hard to do because we’re in love with them. Is this more than mere narcissism? Why do we find it so hard to let go of our darlings? And do we ever really kill them, or do they haunt us, living on in a kind of a half-life as disjecta membra, the “disjected” fragments of our minds and lives?
A page from the redacted police report I first received.
I'm going to be talking about (and reading from) a scene in the first draft of "The Woman in 606"—a Stranger feature published in August—that didn't make the final cut. It involves the almost completely redacted police report I received the first time I requested documents about the incident (it was so redacted it almost appeared SPD was trying to hide something, even though, in the end, they weren't; an unredacted copy came later). It includes a furious SPD officer yelling at me and hanging up in the middle of an interview. And it describes a mistake I made as a witness to the event—something I thought I saw that I did not in fact see, and how this error almost made its way into the piece.
The other three writers confessing their mistakes and showing off their discarded material are Rebecca Brown, Lesley Hazleton, and Aham Oluo. This takes place downstairs at Town Hall (enter on Eighth Avenue), 7:30 pm, $5. I'm told it will be informal. No one standing at a podium blathering on. A salon of sorts.