Armed with a strong intuition of the mood I wanted, but no clear direction of how to convey that mood, I began with several freewrites (done while riding the bus around San Francisco).
The most evocative passages from the freewrites formed the backbone of a rough draft; from there I had about a week to build and strengthen the transitions and do as many revisions as I could before deadline.
Surprisingly, considering the compressed time frame, my original vision was largely realized in the finished draft. The cold side of city life - people in physical proximity walled off from one another, caught up in their own little worlds - came through vividly. And there was a leisurely pace, a fully-fleshed atmosphere, and a poetic voice that hadn't come out in my other non-fiction writing.
Though I liked the piece, my audience was mostly indifferent, for any number of reasons. The essay was too depressing. Or too realistic. And it lacked a formal plot.
I quickly moved on to my next assignment with the presumption that this creative ship had sailed.
And yet, a few of my regular readers loved "Waiting for the Sun." One of these readers recently re-published it at a new website, Secessio, a postmodern journal of political essays, poetry, and philosophy. Take a look, and while you're there, check out this interesting article about Antonin Artaud.