Tag Archives: freewriting

How to Write Creatively

Eight of the journals I bound over the recently concluded winter break.

After nearly 30 years of doing creative writing and over 15 years of teaching it, what I can profess are the following guidelines, which I still think about sometimes as I freewrite:

How to Write Creatively: Keep your pen moving across the page as you

1. Let go of ideas you already have. Ideas are arbitrary — there are at least 13 ways of looking at a blackbird. Making art is playing with ideas. You are not your ideas. Nobody knows what things really are. Question expectations. Release ideas you’ve heard from others or had yourself. Steer from others’ paths, others’ models. If you think you know what you’re making, change what you’re doing. If you’re not surprising yourself as you write, your readers won’t be surprised, either. There’s no wrong way, and other writers are your peers, not your idols.

2. Follow new ideas arising by your inner voiceKey to creativity — we’re NOT in control. We DON’T know where ideas come from — but we can just let them show up! Keep writing til the new ideas come. Write at the edge of thought — follow feelings and whims, get it all on paper, edit later. Ride your mind. Overdrive your headlights. Let the dog of your consciousness lead you astray. Write like you talk. Let your inner voice lead. The E.M. Forster quote: “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” If you have something to say,  just say it, and move on — the point is to find an idea you’d never thought before. Learn from yourself by writing to the edge of your thinking. You’re smarter than you consciously know.

The point of writing is to write, to enjoy the act of writing — find what’s fun for you to write. Writing doesn’t have to be about the tedious process of scraping words together to meet an assignment. The resulting text isn’t really the point. And yet, if you’d like to share some of your freewritings with others, you may want to 

Edit by Discovering:

Get time away from texts so you can see what’s there on the page and forget what you were trying to do — that’s how others will see your texts. Pick out your favorite parts, like taking a bunch of photos and choosing the ones that turned out the best. (There’s a W.D. Snodgrass essay in American Poetry Review a few years ago where he describes this as panning for gold.) There are many ways to tell a story — there is no perfect way to tell a story. Accept what you do, what you did, and move on. Your writings are not you — they are separate from you. Your consciousness makes the art but doesn’t appear with the art. Your art will be rooted in you being you. No one’s ever had your mind, your sensibility (as shaped by your experience, your influences, feelings) before. When you write through a persona, you’re not being original — the only way to be original is to be unselfconsciously, intimately yourself.

Making a text is strange: Monday 18 July 2016 journal

Lately I’ve been thinking of texts that are written to be published, written for an audience, as performances, and as performances, these texts have a level of artifice that I’d like to question. So what follows below is selections from a text I wrote for myself in my journal. It’s not organized by topic, and it doesn’t fit a typical nonfiction form, but it’s an experiment in editing, in seeing how what final shapes a minimally shaped text can take. I’m wondering why someone might choose to read such an unlabeled, unformed text, and what someone would get from having read it.

At home, a little after 8 a.m. — It’s humid. There’s still much dew-fall on the sliding glass door. More light comes in from the lower half of the door, where rivulets have run.

Just read a piece at New York Times’ The Stone that talked about how brain science seems to suggest that we use the same faculty to look into — to model, presume — our own minds the same way we try to read and model others’ minds. There is no 1st person, the writer says. This piece didn’t upset me in the way that some new theories bother me. I hadn’t thought of it before, but this idea goes along with my previous ideas about the unknowability of my own mind. For example, I don’t know where my ideas or the words that I write come from. “The Greeks” Episode Two talked about Greeks taking ideas from other cultures they met while trading and making colonies. “Ideas” is a word that comes to English directly from the Greek. It suggests that an idea is what could be taken from others without them getting pissed. An idea is not property like a ship or a pot is. Of course, you’re not taking at all but making, making your own concept of what you see others doing.

And perhaps an idea isn’t property (a copyrighted work is “intellectual property” in legal terms, but an idea-qua-idea can’t be copyrighted). But maybe the idea of “the idea” is itself Greek. The notion that we can form ideas, that ideas are things that can be labeled, identified, as much as “rock” or “tree” can be. Though, of course, we still can’t see, touch, or taste ideas.

A dog sticking out of driver's window of this van. This is from my McPerspective at my McSeat.

A dog sticking out of driver’s window of this van. This is from my McPerspective at my McSeat. (This dog is different from the the RCA dog mentioned below.)

At Oregon, Ill., McDonalds, seated alongside the wall of windows along the south side of dining room, with a view of cars leaving the drive-thru, about 10 a.m., after dropping my wife off to conduct a real estate closing —

At the diner yesterday, talked to Ashli Waitress’s husband, Jason, who’s working to demolish a building in the Chicago suburbs. There’s a steel structure for moving product inside this old warehouse, and he’s using a hydraulic shears for cutting this steel. The shears can cut steel up to 2 inches thick, he said.

Jason also told me about a former job delivering and repossessing furniture for a rental store in Rockford. How he once had to step over a passed-out dude in the hallway of an apartment building, and how he once got intentionally hit by a woman in a car and he was carried along until his feet got loose, and how he got shot at. Once sofas were repossessed, the employees had a way of opening them with wedges so as to not get stabbed with drug needles. Employees also called cops after discovering certain images on repossessed computers, he said.

“… 40 years old, dropped of a cardiac arrest … they revived her in the hospital after shocking her seven times … she passed a month ago — had her 42nd birthday” at the hospital, said a 60-year-old-ish man to an 80-year-old-ish man sitting at the table west of me.

“I couldn’t hold a frickin’ gallon of milk,” said the 60-ish man, who had slipped and fallen during a winter and thought he’d have to get rotator cuff surgery, but he didn’t.

“Could I get a discount, please?” said McSally. A dark-haired 30-ish McManager came over to a register where another McWorker was on the client side of the counter.

“I’m gonna run up to Rockford. I gotta jump on a conference call,” said 60-year-old guy. “Alright, pop,” said the 60-ish guy. “Alright, kiddo,” said the 80-ish guy as both left their table.

A certain customer will “ask for a senior coffee. He can’t hardly hold it … he should NOT  be driving,” said McSally to McKaren, who responded that the old man might cause an accident and not even get hurt himself.

Dark-haired McManager said, “lunchtime” at 10:30. She said it in a low-energy shout, like “Lunch. Time.”

I was thinking this spring that it IS hard — emotionally upsetting — to have one’s beliefs challenged, as I was challenging my high school students’ beliefs during our philosophy unit.

“Can I help you, hun, now that I’m done complaining?” said McKaren to a customer about how she thought the humidity at 6:30 this morning was bad but it’s worse now.

Not that the statement above is such a great quote. Rather, it was a little distracting, so I wanted to get it out of my mind. But also, there’s something about how she really said it — it’s somewhat banal (not entirely, since it does reveal character), but also … I don’t know. I just wanted to record it as a real statement that was really said, a small moment but now it’s recorded. It was made a “moment” by my recording it? That maybe there is something special about me writing real things down — that writing them down, that making a text, is an act that is strange — estranged from? — living life, regular life. It’s normal for me to write, but maybe I forget how weird it is to write, actually.

There was a short-coated dog hanging out a passenger window of an SUV — it looked a little like the RCA Victor dog.

“They got it off Pinterest or somethin’,” said McSally. Pinterest is a thing, now.

I try to figure things out sometimes and shut out — mentally shut out, ignore — my surroundings. Yet, why bother? So many texts are written that way. And when I read, I like to shut out outside input — like, just now, the horn solo of Little River Band’s “Reminiscing” and like McSally saying, “What are cheeseburger cupcakes?” and McDark Hair Manager saying, “They look like cheeseburgers.”

Ogle County soldiers' memorial, in front of the county jail and, further back, a church spire for the First Presbyterian Church of Oregon, Ill.

Ogle County soldiers’ memorial, in front of the county jail and, further back, a church spire for the First Presbyterian Church of Oregon, Ill.

Shutting out one’s surroundings, being able to focus on the text, both as writer and as reader, can be really nice at times. But also, it could be nice to read texts where (like this text), the writer is out in public and includes what he hears and sees going on around him while also writing whatever ideas come into the writer’s head.

A dude asks the McCounter workers — he’s new to the area, he says — and he asks how to get Internet and/or cable. They name some utilities for him, fulfilling their community-information function.

What I write — I’m of this area, this county. I publish on my own blog rather than submitting my writing to edited websites. There’d be a sense in leaving my community, of having to go away to make it big, in submitting my work to others. I saw corn plants in a certain field on the drive to McDonald’s today — Ogle County is cornfields, and is not people and culture. I’ve developed as a writer while living in this rural area, without much influence from other writers, and that lack of influence is perhaps a result of, a mark of, having developed while out here in this open place. Sometimes this place can feel desolate, empty of smart people who share my interests, but this morning I wasn’t feeling that. I was feeling that there’s something meditation-promoting about this cornfield. I didn’t feel desolate. I felt that this corn — tassling out, the row curving — was as good as any. That I could stop and meditate there.

“Do we have cookies back, Sal?” asked McKaren. “I don’t think so,” said McSal. “I’m taking the last of the chocolate chip,” said McKaren, as a client stood at the counter. The client wore pajama pants printed with what looked like heart-shapes with sashes across them, with the sashes reading “LOVE” — upcloser (I used the ruse of getting napkins), I saw that there was a sword through the red shape and a flower and that some of the designs were mirror-imaged (or flipped?) so that “LOVE” was spelled “backwards-E,” “O,” “V,” “backwards-L.”

There’s a sense that people who write about rural areas have to do so in the forms approved y city-dwelling editors — intellectuals, in other words (although right-wing propaganda, less so, I’d think).

Having my own website is less glamorous than publishing with the imprimatur of an imprint, but publishing on my own website is wonderfully direct.  These are the words coming directly from this author, without intercession.

At the Diner, noon:05, after having picked up my wife after her real estate closing and taken her to lunch — I could post this day’s writing. I don’t need to write on a topic, so I could put up whatever. But I also don’t need to blurt.

But if the point of publishing isn’t to tell a message but just to share my mind, share a text that comes from my experience, to share a bit of my mind — a mystical aspect of a text.

“I don’t think Lucinda cares for him too good,” said a 60-year-old-ish woman to another woman eating across from her in the booth behind my wife.

Back at home, 10:45 p.m. — I typed in some, not all, of today’s journal. I was tempted to cut down what I entered — I had the idea to take just one paragraph’s worth of idea out of any one day’s journal. But then I thought, I’m not sure I should cut down. Give it a try, type in a long piece. There’s no need to include everything from the journal entry, yet I wonder if I’m judging by traditional, too-narrow standards if I cut down my texts. Leave it long, don’t talk yourself out of doing it before you try it.

Of course, what I like is to write. I write for the engaged writing experience — publishing comes second as a priority. But maybe what I want is to have a text that reveals a nimble mind — maybe that’s my organizing guideline. I could even have a long version and a short version (an Abstract, or a “TL;DR” section).

Nonfic: Fractal nonfiction, or What if digressions are the text?

When I tell people that I like writing nonfiction, I have a feeling that they may be thinking I like writing profiles or research-based articles or essays. Nonfiction is such a huge category, with such a non-descriptive name, that it’s nearly useless. All it says is “not fiction,” with is like describing all manner of living things as “not dead.”

Anyway, I sometimes describe the nonfiction that I like to write as “informal nonfiction,” in the sense that the texts I write nonfictionally tend to not end up resembling a formal structure. This is still vague. At the risk of overdefining (and thus limiting myself) here, I want to describe my nonfiction (for examples, see most of the texts listed under the “nonfiction” category to the right on the screen) as “fractal nonfiction.”

A quick definition of fractal: it’s a pattern that is self-similar at any level of magnification or “zoom.” Examples: A leafless tree is a fractal shape in that the same pattern of branching can be seen at the whole-tree level, at the branch level, at the stem level, etc. Another example is in a coastline: from an Earth-orbit view, a coastline looks fairly smooth, with maybe only major bays and peninsulas jutting into smooth lines. But as one’s perspective gets closer and closer to the coastline, say, flying over in an airplane, more irregular features appear. From a cliff above a coastline, one can see even more irregularities, such as individual boulders that make the coastline rough. Looking at an individual rock at the coastline, one may see a pattern that is mostly smooth but has some irregularities — similar to how the entire coastline looked from space. Presumably, as one could see down to pebble length, then the crystal level, and even the atomic level, there would be a similar pattern, and this is one way (of many) to define fractals.

Disclaimer: I’m not making the claim that there is a fractal pattern visible from zooming in from the whole-text level to paragraph to sentence to word to letter, etc. (although that idea seems intriguing) — I rather want to describe a form of writing nonfiction that, like a tree, starts in an arbitrary spot, branches off to associated ideas (not unlike following a hyperlink trail on a websearch), that may then also branch off. I’m describing texts that have no particular beginning or end, and thus are an analogue to a human life that may go in new directions but which also is continuous.

Or, another way to say this: What if digressions from  a topic aren’t digressions at all but are a new branch? It’s an assumption or presumption that a particular text has to be discrete and self-contained. An article about nesting habits of egrets shouldn’t also discuss the land-grant college system. Now, a personal essay might include such topics, under a larger unifying idea that the text is the writer putting down her experience on paper, and maybe her experience somehow does go from egrets to land-grant colleges. But unless these ideas are somehow transitioned between, the second topic might be considered a non sequitur, and an editor may tell the writer to stick to the topic at hand.

But, of course, real life sometimes does have non sequiturs — my dog often demands my attention while I write — and these may or may not be interesting. But my mind seems to function creatively by association. When I freewrite, the next thought may not have much to do with the previous thought, or if there is a connection, it’s not a meaningful one. One word or sense memory may bring to mind something that doesn’t seem meaningfully related, though there may be a connection that could be quite telling, from a psychological aspect, about the writer or about the text’s discussion.

I want to suggest that the digressive, branching “freewriting” process can be reflected in a text product that maintains this branching, and that this branching text that seems to have no clear beginning or end could be called “fractal nonfiction.”

Of course, ideas that come up during drafting or freewriting can be taken out of their freewriting context and shaped to fit into a traditional form (an academic essay, say, or an op-ed). Some may make the point that it is the writer’s job to impose order on his thoughts and turn the relative chaos of actual thought into a polite, familiar form that will be easily understood by a general reader. Art, of course, may contain or use artifice, and there is plenty that is artificial in an academic essay. For just one example, when I teach my high school sophomores to write a thesis statement about their experiences in a personal narrative essay, I am aware that determining and declaring the meaning of any experience is pretty artificial. Who can known what their experiences mean, especially before writing about them, and who sticks with one interpretation of an experience?

Even though I journal about many of my experiences, I don’t often  intentionally try to figure out what a particular event means. Usually, I have a feeling about an experience, and my first impulse is to say the experience itself means nothing — only my interpretation of the event can possibly have meaning, and my interpretation can easily be flawed, limited as it must be by my limited perspective, my subjectivity, my emotional/biochemical mindstate (at the time of the experience and at the time of the writing), my imperfect memory, etc. Now, I have written about experiences, but I find that my interpretations of those events may change significantly as they recur in my thinking and writing over the years.

So artifice can be useful at times, and it can even be interesting, but I find rawness to often be more interesting because of its rawness. Highly revised and edited texts can be beautiful and moving, etc., like a Bach organ composition (not sure why, but that’s what my mind is playing for me now. Speaking of this, aren’t most metaphors or similes spontaneously created by the mind? Whenever I’ve tried deliberately to make a metaphor or simile fit a situation, it’s horrible. I’m also sensing that I’m digressing right now, and I’m tempted to edit it, but it reminds me that I value spontaneity and honesty and that most of the particular statements I make about writing could boil down to “don’t plan it out–write in the moment”). But there’s also beauty, if one wishes to look, in bird songs and in the splash-and-gurgle sounds of a running stream and also in the rough draft of a song.

Taylor Mali’s poem “What Teachers Make” contains

I make them show all their work in math
and hide it on their final drafts in English.

which is a great line for a poem, but when I play his performance of that poem for my students, I wonder about the validity of that way of teaching. Why should writers hide their work? Mathematicians have to show their proofs; scientists have to show their process of discovery. Art is different, yes, but it doesn’t have to be any one particular way — that’s what I love about art. There can be works, like, say, “West Side Story,” that are wonderful for their artifice; but there can also be jam sessions and improvisations — so why not freewrites?

Thing about writing is, when we writers don’t show the process, it seems as if it sprung whole-born from our heads. It took me years to realize that that’s not the way most writers have ever worked. Yet, I will contradict here to say that the most-interesting ideas I have ever had have come to mind spontaneously, without my intention, as I wrote. It was effortless, though not without effort.

If I try to stay in control of my writing, of what I write, then I can only be as smart as I am, which process is limiting and also exhausting. But if I can let go of control and just see what happens — “How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?” then I can write things, create texts, that are smarter than I am. Also, that way of writing is way more fun.

Basically, I’m advocating here for letting the form be born at the same time as the content/message, if we even want to make that distinction. Thoreau’s “Walden” is a great book in spots, but it feels more polished, more dead, than his original journals. A piece of wood can only be polished once it’s been cut from the tree — the polishing would kill a growing tree by rubbing off that narrow growing edge — there’s a metaphor. Also this one: the tree grows outward, getting larger, from the outer layer of bark (I’m of course ignoring the outermost layer of bark, which is also dead — all metaphors are incorrect, of course), leaving behind the solid, but dead, cellulose that makes up the tree trunk. We grow as writers, leaving behind dead wood — so why not grow outwards, leaving the past writing behind as is, without needing to polish it. Grow outwards, branch, leave behind (to only-at-the-end-intentionally joining this metaphor up to the earlier one.

Of course, this freewrite is already over 1500 words — as the familiar idea goes, if I had more time, I’d make it shorter — and yet, that’s now how my brain works. I’m not editing for readers. There is no royal road to arriving at a new idea. I’m not making these texts easy for readers — I’m not intending these texts to be difficult to read, either — but these are not processed by editing to be easy to digest. But I guess I get tired of reading things that are too easy to read, that merely express an idea or an opinion, neatly and tidily. I guess I’m more interested now in how people come up with things, in how people think, (and by extension, in how they live), than in what are the contents of those thoughts. (And I just realize, after having written that sentence, that I don’t know if I was aware of that idea before. Just now, via writing, I’ve learned something new.) I often feel I’m aware of the range that most opinions fall within: in favor of some idea or proposal or work, for reasons A,B, and C; opposed to it, for reasons D,E, and F; in favor, but with caveats G and H; the contrarian finding something to like where most others do not; the ironic self-aware contrarian; “this reminds me of this other thing I’d rather write about”; etc.

Now I’m criticizing, and I don’t want to criticize, mostly because I don’t want to respond to or react to things; I’d rather mind my own ideas, my own path. But if criticizing can lead me to a new idea, a new perspective, it’s fine and fun.

Back to “easily digestible”: When a text’s structure is familiar (say, the five-paragraph essay of the standardized writing tests, or the average newspaper op-ed piece), the reader doesn’t even need to read all of it and may skip it. It’s so easily understood that the reader may not even engage with it — it’s something to take for granted.

So, I feel like wrapping this freewrite session up. Maybe all art works can be finished whenever the artist feels he/she is finished. And maybe I feel like writing these fractal freewrites now because, well, that’s where I feel I want to be now, and I may change later, but of course, we all only live now — we wake up to find ourselves, as any particular moment, being the particular people we are at that moment. I wake up now on the 3rd of February 2013 to find myself having certain things, being a specific age, having written nearly 2,000 in previous moments.

Nonfic: Freewriting: What to post when there’s nothing to post

I want to post something, but nothing’s burning in my brain to be said — but that’s OK. I don’t want to be a writer who says something only when he feels there’s something to say. Not that I want to merely chit-chat, “shoot the breeze” as the saying goes (a rather violent saying, it just now strikes me), but rather, I guess I’m interested in reading things and/or writing things that aren’t necessarily meaning-driven, that aren’t little news stories, for example, and aren’t tidy lessons or little packaged epiphanies. I don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking I’ve always got Important Things That Must Be Said.  I’ve even found myself in recent days waiting for inspiration to strike, which is something I wouldn’t allow my students to do. When they ask what to write about, I tell them to freewrite — get something written by putting down any and every idea that comes to mind. If there’s an idea in mind before I begin to write, that’s OK, but often, the ideas that come to mind before I sit to write aren’t as interesting as those that surprise me by coming along as I freewrite. So this post may not get directly to the (or to any) point, but then I’ve been thinking lately that making points may not be the point of writing. Perhaps the value of any text to a reader is that the text conveys the voice of a writer with whom we readers enjoy spending time — that, sure, we may like their ideas, images, theories, insights, stories, etc., but maybe the value in reading any writer’s work isn’t any of these things  so much as that we just like how that writer’s brain/voice works. Something about their personality comes through the writing, and we might want to be friends with, or at least, be close enough to overhear, that writer. And I’ll venture this idea, though I’m not sure how much I actually agree with it: that I’d like to see fewer texts that have clear, decisive, settled opinions and ideas, and I’d prefer to read texts in which a writer works out one’s ideas, says things tentatively, seeking understanding rather than promoting one view, opinion, or definition of things that the writer seems certain about. (I say that I’d like to read things like that, but then, maybe I like the idea of that kind of text more than I’d actually like reading those texts in practice.)

Anyway, lately when I’ve gotten my fill of reading news, news analysis, commentary, and opinions — which things I find easy to read, but which do not really satisfy me — I’ve been going to the Pepys diary and seeing what fellow writer Sam did on this day in 1660-something. I like the permissiveness of the spelling, the window on a specific life lived in a different time (for one, he seems to dispatch his duties as a naval administrator in considerably less than eight hours each day), and just the writings about a life lived — his desires (such as they are), how he spent his hours, etc.

But I also like Pepys as a fellow diaries/journal-ist, as someone whose texts I can use as  comparison to my own journals, which I’ve been keeping for 20 years as of last May, and I’ve been keeping them daily (skipping maybe only 4 or 5 days) for the last 8 years. These daily journals are a diary for me, but more than that, they are also the place where I record most of my ideas, impressions, theories; they are where I record the thoughts and ideas that come back to me as I write (in that sense, they are not a complete record of every single thing I do — they are a morning-after impression of the previous day’s highlights (and there’s something about sleeping first that helps sort out the highlights from the dross), and these are where I work out/through my questions about art, life, blah — it seems dull when I generalize about them. But these journals are something I feel an urge, a need to do — and I hesitate to use “need,” in that when I used to read artists describe themselves as “needing to create,” I felt like I wasn’t an artist because I didn’t feel that sense of need. And yet, as I got into a practice/habit of doing them, the journals did start to feel like something that I didn’t want to skip — perhaps because my mind tends towards the obsessive, but it really does help me feel better once I’ve gotten 3-4 pages done each morning before I go to work.

I started doing them as daily writing practice after getting the idea from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way (I have never actually read the rest of the book. It may be great; I don’t know. A man I consider a mentor once told me about taking what one needs from a practice and letting go of what doesn’t work for one. I found the “morning pages” practice so useful I’ve never gone back into her book — that’s not her fault, of course. But, for me, knowing when to shut out other people’s advice has been quite helpful.), and I have my high school creative writing students do some journaling at the beginning of each class period. After several years of assigning this, I’d say about half of my students find the open-ended (freewritten) journals extremely valuable, and the other half find them not helpful (though even those students generally have become more fluent in their writing).  For me, these journals felt like a distraction from the Serious Writing I felt I should be doing, until not too long ago, when I realized that the writing I have been doing all along — writing that has felt natural, has been enjoyable for its own sake, and has not felt like work — IS actually the writing I should be doing. I discovered/eventually learned that the writing that is the most rewarding for me to do just because I enjoy doing it is the writing that I want to be doing. I didn’t need to make myself into a fiction writer if writing fiction felt like work to me, which all too often it did.

I’m getting abstract here, and I don’t want to. I guess I just wanted to talk about journals, and how I enjoy writing them, even if they never lead to any kind of published work. For years, I thought that the filled journals  should become something I could publish, and I despaired that they were not more automatically suited for publishing. Maturity in this arrived slowly, when I realized that enjoying the act of writing mattered more to me than the external success of publishing. And realizing that has helped me, actually, enjoy reading my old journals more. I used to judge them harshly for not being Something More, but when I go back and look without judging, I’m often pleasantly surprised at what I read. There’s much more to say about the process of going back and reading my own journals (starting here).

For this post, let’s wrap up by bringing back Pepys as example and let’s say that I’m glad he wrote the journals he did — which journals he did not publish during his lifetime. All the same, I wish that he’d been a bit more introspective, a bit more thorough, in his commentaries.  But the point is, and this is something I need to remind myself, it really doesn’t matter what I think of Pepys’ journals. He made them for himself. And it helps to remind myself that I don’t need to take Pepys, or Thoreau, or any other noted journal-ist as a model for my own journal-writing. It can be nice to think that there are models, examples, of people who’ve done what I do, and yet, at some point, I learned to let go of models, too.