Call to Readers: Community Writing Project

Joshua Robbins

I think it was a Monday last month that the road leading to our street was overtaken by flatbed semis hauling shipping containers, front loaders, and other sundry heavy equipment. Hearing all the racket from a location that was maybe a couple hundred yards from our back porch and just beyond the leech field and bramble, I only thought it peculiar. Figured it was the city installing new sewers or natural gas lines.

That night, after the afternoon’s hullabaloo, I came home from work to find cop cars, projection lamps, and a roadblock sitting a few yards from where I normally turn into my street. I was waived down by a man wearing a windbreaker labeled “Security.” He asked me where I was going. I said I was trying to get home and he told me I could no longer go down this road and so I needed to find another route around to my street.

I found out a few days later that the producers and crew for the ABC television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition had the road blocked in preparation for filming an episode. A Knoxville family was going to have their home completely demolished, hauled away, and replaced with a home that would meet all their housing needs and reflect all the wishes and personality of that family. By the end, it took maybe twelve days total for setting up, for the old to come down and the new to go up, and for hauling the equipment away. It also took the participation of 3000+ local volunteers.

Reflecting on this event’s impact on our community, I was reminded of these words about revision from poet/critic Robert Pack: “Creation in its largest sense, then, must be though of as a process of creation, destruction, and re-creation. In this process we may become aware of powers we did not know we possessed.” Of course Pack is discussing the writing process but his words are equally applicable to what Knoxville has re-learned from the revision process of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: the combined spirits of volunteerism and community-building can produce great things.

It is within this framework that I’d like to issue a challenge to the Rock & Sling community. On Sunday, February 12, let’s each commence an extreme makeover of our own. Call it Extreme Writing Makeover, if you like. Each volunteer will choose a piece or writing to revise, one that needs to be demolished and rebuilt. Two weeks later, on February 26, we’ll meet again at Rock & Sling to share with our community our newly (re)built pieces and our thoughts about revision.

The logistics:

Sign-up – In the comment section to this entry, let it be known that you’re planning to participate in the Extreme Writing Makeover.

February 12 – I’ll post another entry about the Extreme Writing Makeover project. In the comment section to that entry, post the piece you’re making over.

February 26 – I’ll post a final Extreme Writing Makeover. In the comment section, post your revised piece and any comments you have about the process.

Uncle Walt insists we, “Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs,” but let’s also agree to take down the jambs and the walls as well! This is an experiment and it only works if we volunteer within the community to give it a “go.” I hope you will and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do!

4 thoughts on “Call to Readers: Community Writing Project

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s