The Pen and Paper
Surprisingly, I still use both. It probably all started when I won one of the least recognized school prizes, not that I've been anything but proud when I took it home...the handwriting prize. Or should I say, the Handwriting Prize. To celebrate, my nine-year old self bought a calligraphy pen. That's probably where it all started, the writing bug.
At university, I wrote all my essays by hand. Only one friend had a computer, and he had to print out his essays before weekly tutorials, using the old ticker-tape perforated edge printer paper that spits out in one huge reel like Jack Kerouac's On The Road scroll. This resulted in a nail-biting last few minutes before our meetings.
I use a laptop these days for writing, but everything note-wise is pen and paper. I don't think these ancient tools are going away just yet. Although that's what someone probably said about the dodo.
"First thought, best thought."
There's that Jack Kerouac again, with my favorite writing quotation. In the spirit of the quotation, it's my favorite. He who hesitates...has to only edit more.
I encourage you all to enjoy reading, writing, and not fussing over every single word like Flaubert. My view is that writing itself should be fun, just for it's own sake, or why struggle to make it better? If the only payoffs are emailing with readers, publishing and writing something new, when does the writer actually enjoy the work? These social benefits, while great, are not the actual impulse behind the pen.
It's the white heat of writing that brings me back to it, not the dry critical editing brain. Okay, both are needed to complete a story or novel. But for me, writing is best enjoyed driving forward in a state of possibility and narrative excitement, to be analyzed for its merits (and demerits) later. In other words, don't forget to press the accelerator.
Happy reading, and I hope the stories are sufficiently crazy enough to feel like the pleasures and pains of ordinary daily life, like a story told to you by a friend.
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