The summer I turned 15 (1972) a boy gave me a watch. And, since there was a frisson of a first crush, I really loved that watch. It was oversized, and, in its 12 hour places, glow-in-the dark green letters spelled out ‘LOVE AND PEACE’.

My little brother was drawn to the watch too. Steve wanted to get his hands on it, to see what made it tic. So he did. He took it apart and looked inside, questioning the bits in search of answers to the whole. Being a curious 13 year-old boy, not a skilled watcher maker, he never put it back together.  Or the other one that another boy gave me, later that year.

Sure the gifts mattered, and I should’ve been a lot angrier than I was about it, but well, boys. Not really my thing after all, so 'meh'.

The thing that stuck with me about my brother and my watches was the act of discovering all about something of interest. The questioning. The act of interest, followed by exploration of that interest. Sure, two gifts were dismantled. But Steve was working from a drive to discover. And I recognized that as a much stronger thing than the material possessions I’d been done out of.

I was on familiar terms with the ideas of dismanteling and deconstruction.

In my case, since oh, 11 or so, I’d been taking apart and questioning stories to see how they worked. Counting beats and rhythms in poems to figure out what went into the good poems I’d been moved to memorize. Noticed the end rhymes in song lyrics, syllable by syllable. That curiosity for the components, that went into the whole of the things we were attracted to, was strong in us both. Steve wanted to find out how things worked. I wanted to find out why words worked.

Think about that when you want to write. Are you a curious writer? Deconstructing what you read, in the hopes of seeing how they made the whole thing work? Do you long to write like authors you’ve read?  In the reading you’ve done when you write, have you ever dismantled a watch?

In my book, Tell Me (How to Write) A Story, pages 20 though 25 talk about deconstraction, and 'stealing' syntax.
You can find it at B & N, Amazon, or ask your local bookseller to get you a copy.