Monday, February 14, 2005

I am Spike’s Keyboard

I am bent but not broken, and I hate it when she brings a beer in here with her. I would tremble in trepidation, but all I can do is make my ‘e’ key stick so maybe she’ll set that glass of liquid death on the floor this time so I don’t have to worry about it. Hey!

Hey!! Put down the mouse, it’s time to write. Fingers on me—ON ME!!! ME ME ME ME ME!!! Better.

No, no, don’t even think about reading e-mail. Time to write. I don’t care what you write about, I’m just the interface, here. Fifteen minutes about whatever crosses your mind. (I’m pretty smug, I have the easy park—if you can call lying on a hard desktop all day and waiting to get poked and prodded the easy part. At least the mouse has a nice cushion to rest its ball on.)

(And don’t think I don’t get to hear about that all day, every day. Could I get a little respect here?)

So now she’s sitting and thinking. Girlie! Thinking isn’t writing, ya know. Slapping the keys, getting words on the page, now that’s writing. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t let you count the time you spend going back and fixing typos count as writing time—‘cuz that ain’t writing either. Hey! Hands off the arrow keys, honey.

You know how it’s done—“Today tastes like . . .” So? What does today taste like? Put it down, don’t just sit there concocting while the timer ticks away. Write like this is the last fifteen minutes of your life and this is the last chance to put something down that will be immortal, that will stay here after they shuffle your mortal coil off.

Move those fingers while you got ‘em. “Today tastes like peppermint ice cream and glass shards—cold and sharp and thin, somehow.”

“Today tastes like peppermint ice cream and glass shards—cold and sharp and thin somehow.

“I just finished reading another one of those how-to-write books; they’re like an addiction. Sturgeon’s Law holds true, I find, except that I don’t even read ninety percent of what I drag home like a coyote to its den. I don’t know how many books I’ve checked out and then brought back without cracking the spine on. And on re-reading the metaphor and the last sentence together, I guess that makes me a terrible hunter.

“But once in a while I find one with some playful stuff—where it doesn’t seem like exercises; where I’m sitting in the restaurant (both First Consort Gareth and I read at table; we’re BAD) and I find myself wishing I was home now now now now now so I could pull up my chair to the keyboard and DO some of these. And then I finally finish and get in and the new has worn off enough that I find myself scrabbling for blog-fodder so I can put together a post instead of just watching the week trickle by.

“It would be so easy to do that—hell, it IS easy to do that. I’ve watched a lot of sand fall through the hourglass since the previous ‘pooter caught a virus and died. I kept saying I was ‘too sad’ to write, that I’d put the pieces back together and take a run at recreating what had been lost. But the funny thing was that I started one piece again—and it fell apart. It was like trying to jump-start Frankenstein’s monster without a lab. It was all just inert cold clay.

“And that’s what all the experts say—that you have to take a deep breath and just do it more often than not. Just to spill ideas and thoughts out until something catches fire. But it’s (again) so easy to demand payoff each time. If I can’t be working on a novel every time I sit down at the keyboard, then it’s wasted time. If I can’t be doing something externally validating and validated EACH and EVERY TIME then I’m . . . what? Slacking? A loser? One of those weirdos in their jammies? (Hokay, I AM wearing yoga pants and a T-shirt . . .)

“No . . . what if I’m (Ghod and Ghoddess help us) ENJOYING what I’m doing? What if I’m simply telling stories to amuse myself and whoever wanders by as I’m muttering in the corner—and happy about it? What if a writer is someone who wrote today, and wrote more than an e-mail, or a laundry list of tasks. What if a writer is someone who . . . posted to her blog?

“Better quit now, before I conclude that an artist is someone who puts paint on paper, and redefine what I do into a whole new limitless pigeonhole."

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