So, Where Does The Writing Come From?

I don’t know, but it feels like I’ve always had a pen or pencil in my hand. I still have the thick blue pencil I learned to write with somewhere around here.

Do you remember the pads of paper with the lines? Big Chief was the brand, I think. The lines were there to help you write straight and reminded me of blank sheet music (language is music, yes?). Solid lines ran along the top and bottom of the space, with a dotted line running down the middle. Lower case letters could be no taller than that dotted line unless they had ascenders (I didn’t know that term in 1st grade) like an “b” or a “d.” No letter could go below the lower solid line except for the ones with tails (okay, descenders, but I prefer “tails”). Those tails were expected to drop all the way down to the dotted line in the next row. Those were always my favorite letters to make.

So, my love of writing goes back a long way, and yes, some of it is the mechanics of the act. Making lines of ink on paper making My mom was a stenographer in the War Dept. during WWIIsymbols that make words that make stories: I find that to be exceedingly cool.

The love of the act translates to typing, as well. I taught myself how to type on my mom’s old Royal typewriter. Next came an IBM Selectric, another one whose brand name I’ve forgotten, and then computers arrived.

My writing is different when I’m typing. I find the PC monitor to be intimidating to storytelling, at least in the initial phase. I prefer to start by hand; I feel more flexible in my thinking with a pen in hand. So I start that way, usually settled in bed or on the couch, pillows stacked up behind me, and a pad of paper (much skinnier lines, if any, now) in front of me.

Once I’ve reached a good stopping point, either because I’ve run out of ideas, or I just can’t read through all my crossouts/arrows/writing sideways in the margins anymore, typing commences. Typing, editing, research: that all happens on the computer. Then I print that stuff out, edit and write by hand some more, and type that stuff up. Rinse, repeat, until I’m ready to show what I’ve done to my alpha reader (that would be R) or throw it in the woodstove (R’s good at stopping me from doing that).

So, yeah, that’s the how of it, at least in a broad outline. The why and the where from, I’m still pondering that. I’ll let you know what I figure out.

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3 thoughts on “So, Where Does The Writing Come From?

  1. paperkingdoms

    Huh… the paper I wrote on in Elementary school wasn’t dotted every other line — there was a space between the “base” line and the next “top” line down, and that space was where the tails were supposed to go.

  2. Interesting. I guess not every table manufacturer did it the same way. Mine (and R’s) ran together. We must have skipped lines, so things didn’t run together.

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