How About a Little Deconstruction?

The word “deconstruction” has many meanings in writing, so let me set one up for our purposes.  Deconstruction here will involve turning the scene on its head by writing about the writing.  Or perhaps you can write about the writer or have the characters write about the writer.  You might also have some characters write about the constraints of being characters in fiction.  Or perhaps the words themselves need to raise hell about being stuck in posting boxes, in blogs, in different fonts or even margins.

Here are a few misquoted quotes off the Internet regarding deconstruction just to whet your appetite and scare your muse.  I have not referenced them because I’m being lazy.  So don’t sue me.  My source is Google.

–In deconstruction you can demonstrate how statements about any text subvert their own meanings

–In deconstruction different meanings are discovered by taking apart the structure of the language used and exposing the assumption that words have a fixed reference point beyond themselves.

–“the term ‘deconstruction’ refers to the way in which the accidental features of a text can be seen as betraying, subverting, its purportedly essential message

–Margins fall into two categories: bad margins, where all the people society doesn’t care for go, and good margins where critics who can’t write poetry write about it.

–I once sat through a very bad, hour long paper delivered by a colleague who deconstructed his phone bill, and believed that he had demonstrated how Ma Bell was a coercive and terrorist organization.

–The deconstructionist cares not, however, for those who are confused. They believe that confusion should be the result of reading a deconstruction of a text.

———–

I dare you to try some deconstruction!

35 responses to “How About a Little Deconstruction?

  1. THINKING

    THINKING THINKING

    BOX-BOX-BOX-BOX-BOX-BOX-BOX
    BOX BOX
    BOX BOX
    BOX BOX
    BOX BOX
    BOX BOX
    BOX BOX
    BOX BOX
    BOX BOX
    BOX BOX
    BOX BOX
    BOX BOX
    BOX-BOX-BOX-BOX-BOX-BOX-BOX

    THINKING THINKING

    THINKING

  2. DARN THIS PROGRAM, IT MESSED UP MY BOX AND MY THINKING.

  3. Boggle of Deconstruction

    corn, corns
    discount, discounted, discounts
    notion, notions
    strict
    duct, ducts
    turns, turned, turn
    construction, constructions
    rest, rested, rests
    count, counted, counts
    stunned
    suction, suctioned, suctions
    rude
    ride, rides
    tint, tinted, tints
    dust, dusted
    stride, strides
    diction
    rust, rusted, rusts
    dine, dined, dines
    doctor, doctors
    nine, nines
    cut, cuts
    crust, crusted,

    • Boggle. I love it.

      Nuns instruct cons in conduct codes.

    • Okay, I can’t make heads nor tails out of this. And I tried. Unless this is about doctor visits that accumulate along with the years. Help help!

      • I Deconstructed the word Deconstruction and broke it down into all the other words that it contains. Hence the BOGGLE ,a popular word game in the 80′ and 90’s for people who didn’t have the courage to play face to face Scrabble. Sorry I caused you angst but sometimes I have a literal take on your most excellent prompts. Welcome back. ..

    • Angst! Angst! No, not really. But I was stumped. And now I’m impressed!

  4. I don’t have a clue what deconstruction is about, but I got going on a fanciful tangent of thought:

    Country life is typically uniform, day to day. Things happen. The unexpected can always be expected. But today was an unexpectation to remember.

    I was at my desk and heard a commotion coming from the barnyard. It was the damnest thing. I could have sworn I heard a chicken yelling, “The sky is falling. The sky is falling.” I picked up my coffee cup and headed toward the kitchen window, and there it lay. The sky. Bits and pieces of it at first. Scattered about in random shapes, much like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, cut with a complexity beyond that of man’s ability, as the pieces were three-dimensional, much like a Rubik’s cube, but of different sizes not of uniform shape, and not in primary colors, but vaporous hues, some translucent, some transparent, like, well, the sky.

    As the pieces fell, they merged in some kind of osmosis fashion, creating waves of blue, mixed with shades orange, and white – a cosmic swirl cake, a baker’s delight if you will. As they accumulated about the yard I could hear their muffled impact on the roof of my house, and I became aware of a growing silence as if the house was becoming quilted under a heavy snowfall.

    At first I dared not venture outside. I looked toward the livestock which were becoming diffused through the bits of sky. Chickens, goats, and dogs were nearly floating in the fallen sky, as if walking upon translucent pillows of pastel air. I could not hear their cries as the density of the fallen sky increased with each new piece and blocked their voices.

    So here I sit, in total silence, looking out my window as a passenger in an airplane might while flying through a cloud, seeing only perhaps a distance to a wing tip. There is no longer a horizon, just a whiteness illuminated within by bits of the sun, beacons glowing, twinkling like fireflies. If anyone finds this note I want them to know I went outside to walk through the sky. Perhaps I will be able to swim to the top of it. Perhaps not. I have leashed my dog and we are about to head for the door. I wonder if I will meet another on my journey, wherever it takes me. I likely will not find my way back home. Regardless, it will be an adventure.

    So, if someday you find that your sky is falling, just walk through it, remembering it’s the journey and not the destination that matters.

  5. I enjoyed that too. It’s nice to watch your imagination roam skyward.

  6. Hi Guys!! This deconstruction is interesting and not so easy to grasp (for me anyway). I think I may have deconstructed Poe’s raven in one of my poems about death titled “Nevermore” (published by Coperfield Review). In Poe’s poem, the ebony bird says “nevermore” to each inquiry, but the real questions and thoughts are about the lost Lenore. Well, Poe, in my opinion, used a raven as a vehicle to describe what “nevermore” looked like, felt like — slick and black and scary. It wasn’t really a raven but a feeling. Quoth the feeling, nevermore. Quoth the bleak black truth, nevermore.

  7. This is fascinating. Dictionary.com describes deconstruction: In deconstruction, the critic claims there is no meaning to be found in the actual text, but only in the various, often mutually irreconcilable, ‘virtual texts’ constructed by readers in their search for meaning” (Rebecca Goldstein).

    • The more I tried to do some deliberately, the more I got hung up on the whole idea. It is quotes like the one you found that make me want to out sky surfing. Meaning? Can it be only in the eye of the beholder?

      • Ha! I don’t know either. Maybe it means one can pull just about anything out of literature based on the deconstructor’s own experiences. If I’m not too tired after work, I’ll play with it some more. Who knows, maybe Poe’s Lenore wasn’t a girl to some people, maybe she represents something else, and when deconstructed, turns out to be a cat or a car or a pet rat to the deconstructor.

  8. And I don’t have a clue what any of you are talking about. I’m still body-surfing the Milky Way.

  9. (At the risk of annoying the heck out of Gullie, I submit the following:)
    ———————-
    “She did it again, and I’m not going to stand for it anymore,” said Martha.

    “What are you upset about now?” John rubbed his forehead and scowled.

    “Ann! She put us in Assignment 7. I thought we were done after the bus stop. My feet are killing me. But now you have to declare that I’m beautiful, and you’ll love me forever. I don’t even like you anymore.”

    John bit his lip. “Never mind that. You’re right; this gratuitous use of our characters has to stop. Why don’t we wait around the next curve of the winding road, and when she drives past with the sun glaring in her eyes, we’ll pop her with these pea shooters.”

    Martha perked up. “Good one! We’re fictional characters after all. I, for one, plan to have impeccable aim.”

    Unsuspecting, Ann downshifted her BMW convertible (yes, fiction!) for another curve and tried to roll the kinks out of her neck. Maybe she should have put up the top. That sun was too hot. Suddenly she felt a sting on her forehead. Then another on her right cheek. She looked down. Two dried peas lay in her lap. “What the…?”

    And John and Martha ran, screaming with crazed laughter, into the nearest paragraph.

    • John and Martha will never die for those of us who grew in our quest to be writers in Ann’ BWW. I just used them in my current WIP novel as a seventy-year-old couple smuggling counterfeit drugs from Mexico to Oregon. I think they will end up being good guys though, just trying to do what they are told to get their son out of trouble with the Mexican cartel.

  10. Gee, one doesn’t often get a chance to use one’s ‘killed darlings’, but here’s a whole slab of something I edited out of a story:

    ‘Alright, that’s it,’ she says angrily. ‘Where the hell am I, and what have you done with my clothes?’

    Hmmm. I quickly double-check the start of the chapter – and it’s quite clear I’ve made it quite clear of anyone else in the place. Okay. I can’t ignore this. She can only impossibly be talking to me. Except for the fact, of course, that she can’t be. Like, she doesn’t even know that she’s only a figment of my imagination – let alone that there’s even someone like me imagining her. Except that I’m not imagining this. Well, I hope not.

    She shakes her head. ‘You are absolutely pathetic,’ she says. ‘I can’t believe even a hack like you would sink to this.’

    What else can I do? Feeling kinda weird, I type: ‘Um, are you talking to me?’

    She snorts. ‘Of course I’m talking to you,’ she says. ‘Who else around here would I be calling a hack?’

    ‘But how can you be talking to me?’ I type.

    ‘Frankly, I wonder that myself,’ she says. ‘Especially after what you’ve put me through so far.’

    ‘What I mean is,’ I type, ‘how is it possible for all this stuff to be happening – for you, just a character in a story, to be doing your own thing, and us being able to communicate with each other?’

    ‘Hey, how do I know?’ she snaps. ‘It’s your stupid book, not mine. I’d have been a lot happier in something else. Frankly, compared to this, I’d have settled for Mills & Boon – even a ripped bodice would have been better than standing around naked while you and your half-dozen remaining readers get your jollies.’

    This is absolutely ridiculous. I think most of you hundreds of thousands of readers will agree that I’ve handled her nudity (although maybe ‘treated her nudity’ might be a less ambiguous way to phrase that) in an appropriately dispassionate manner.

    ‘Hey, just a minute,’ I type. ‘I’m trying very hard not to be gratuitous here. Like, I could’ve described how the morning sunlight streaming through the window seems to be caressing your body, and especially your breasts, but –’

    ‘But for the fact,’ she scowls, ‘that it’s cloudy and gray outside, and gloomy as hell in here.’

    Okay, I have to admit she’s got me there. I’d figured that an overcast day would make a more appropriate setting for the original scene. I kick myself in the head and make a mental note to pay more attention to detail.

    ‘Exactly,’ I type, trying to restore a little author-style cred. ‘Gloomy, because I’ve made it like that out of respectability for you. And if you don’t mind me saying this, a little respect from you for my artistic integrity wouldn’t go astray.’

    She actually sneers. ‘Really?’ she says. ‘I can only go by the plot and what you’ve put me through so far, but I must have missed the artistic integrity. Which line of which page did you slip it into?’

    Okay, that does it. ‘Yeah? Well I’ve got news for you,’ I type. ‘I’m the one banging away on this keyboard, and I created you, and I don’t need all this negativity. And it occurs to me – like, the only problem I’ve really got with this novel is you. And if I stop writing, you cease to exist.’

    • What a tour de force! You’ve covered this ground so thoroughly, I may not venture there in future. I assume you’ve read some Jasper Fforde. This is him with a lot more thought. I hope you e-books are selling! Feel free to advertise here at will! I have downloaded one myself! -Ann

  11. Laffing my butt off, thanks!

  12. These are great stories! I went off topic when I starting reading about deconstruction and focused on poetry. But, it’s fun. I’ll be pulling poems apart for the next month or two!

    I love the way some of your characters are communicating with the author. Can this type of deconstruction also be metafiction? And Peanut’s deconstruction of the word itself makes me think of the word implosion and inner conflict. And then Jeff’s perspective — it’s a journey. Wonderful stuff!

  13. Gerald leaned forward and began to pack the bowl of his Boswell with a generous charge of Prince Albert tobacco. Once satisfied, he picked up his government issue Zippo lighter, and, after striking the flint with one well practiced flick of the thumb; he had a bright yellow flame that he promptly directed downward into the fresh tobacco by taking a long draw through the stem of the pipe.

    Gerald exhaled slowly and sank backwards into the cushions of his Morris chair. As he did so, from the corner of his eye, in one corner of the room, he thought he saw a person. He sat upright and removed the pipe from his mouth. A curling wisp of smoke rose from the pipe as Gerald stared directly at a man who seemed to have a book opened sideways, “fingering” one of the pages.

    Casually fearing for his life, Gerald began to rise from his chair, but, as he slid forward on the seat cushion, he theorized that his wife Marge would know far more about this sort of thing, and consulting her would certainly insure a far better outcome.

    So, Gerald slid back, got comfy, and yelled, “Marge!”

    Marge had just come in from the garden and was rinsing a colander of freshly picked garden items.

    “What?” she shouted back, figuring that Gerald had probably lost his GI Zippo and was simply too lazy to get up and look for it.

    “Have you seen a man who looks like he’s typing on one side of an open book?”

    The mysterious man in the corner appeared to mouth the words “Have you seen…

    She thought for a moment. “Well, sort of. There was a man out at the garden who asked me what kind of vegetables I liked. I told him beans. He sort of fiddled on something and then moved on.”

    Marge decided her colander of beans was sufficiently clean, shook them over the sink, and placed the colander over a towel on the counter.

    “Have you seen someone like him?” Marge asked as she made her way to the rumpus room.

    Gerald pointed to the corner of the room with the stem of his pipe.

    “Oh my, that’s the same man.” Marge declared. “However, he looks so conflicted; I sense change could be upon us.”

    Jennifer Stratford, Managing Editor of Avon Upon Stratford Books ( A subsidiary of BardCo Enterprises), looked at her staff, and then at her notes. She took considerable time to render her opinion.

    “Do you mean to tell me he’s going to do nothing more than change the gender of the characters?”

    Karrie Patel, a first year intern, said with a noticeable tremble, “Yes ma’am he’s in the corner typing it now.” Gerald pointed with the stem of his pipe.

    Jenn Stratford thought for a moment. It was possible this could work, and it would be cheap.

    “Let’s see what he’s got.”

    Marge leaned forward and began to pack the bowl of her Boswell with a generous charge of Prince Albert tobacco. Once satisfied, she picked up her government issue Zippo lighter, and, after striking the flint with a well practiced flick of the thumb; she had a bright yellow flame that she promptly directed downward into the fresh tobacco by taking a long draw through the stem of the pipe.

    Marge, sitting next to Karrie at the read through, slid towards her and whispered, “Hey, this really doesn’t work. I think we need a more extensive rewrite.”

    Jenn agreed, so in the next revision, Karrie Patel became Jennie Lynd, the buxom literary agent engaged to the author, and Marge became the dog that tries to sell the secret baked bean recipe.

    Gerald was given no further role except to read the first draft until such time as Marge arrives at the rumpus room and he points with the stem of his pipe.

  14. I don’t know where else to ask – does anyone here consider themselves “expert” on Flash Fiction. I have a 550+ word piece I have been working on and would like a harsh edit. If anyone feels comfortable contact me at jeffswitt@gmail.com

  15. Just to say that if anyone’s interested, three of my books are available for free download on Amazon Kindle Saturday Feb 16 and Sunday Feb 17 via http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00A7J4CD0

    If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download a Kindle reading app for your computer at http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=dig_arl_box?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

    Alternatively, you can download all four of my books free as Word documents anytime you like at https://drive.google.com/?pli=1#folders/0BxFvh1QkZAzTeWZnZ1RxT2sxVVU

  16. “figment of my imagination”
    My mind always translates this into “pigment of my imagination”.
    I start looking at the colors of my thoughts, my ideas.
    Blue. My mind opposites this, to me blue is warm and positive, a good color.
    Red: Not warm, angry. “See’s red.” Red hot.

    When I want to thing about peace, I think about the beach, warm (?) blue sky, clear blue sea. Waves crash, but the sound is soothing.

    Angry. Angry is a volcano. Hot red lava. Explosions. Earth’s pimples.

    Okay, deconstruct that…

    Nope, I got nothing.

  17. “See’s” ???? Must be a girls name. See is red. See has hair like an angry volcano. I bet when See is older she’ll have hair like a calm volcano, gray and brittle.

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