Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Another day in the life

'Tis another day and it's wet and cold. Southern winter. Could be worse, of course, with sleet and freezing rain. Been there. Done that. Hope to avoid it ever happening again.

I've been thinking recently about how much I enjoy the physicality of writing with a pencil on paper. Now there are some drawbacks if the paper is rough, or the pencil "lead" too hard, etc. But, even in this day and time of computers--where I can type like crazy--boy! What I could have done in typing class! We actually had SOME manual, non-electric, old-fashioned typewriters! Or even, when I worked for Uncle Sam as a clerk for the USAF about 40 years ago and typed non-stop for eight grueling hours a day! Oh, the aching back! And, lest you already know, that meant typing in at least triplicate, which meant for every mistake I had to erase--with an eraser--not only the original, but each of the carbon copies and go again. And if you think erasing tissue paper copies isn't fun. Well, you just haven't lived and loathed having a job like that!

When we got our first computer with a word processor and, WOW! Spellcheck! (Unlike this blogger posting window.) I thought I'd simply died and gone to heaven. I bet I was typing better'n 500 wpm! Well, maybe only sixty-lebben wpm, but it was way faster than anything I'd ever typed before! It was so cool! AND the best part, every copy was letter perfect and just like the original, i.e., no erasures, no smears, no misspelled words (no holes in the paper meaing I had to start over from scratch). AND it had no return to hit at the end of each line of typing either!!! I feel so blessed to have all these wonderful tools at my disposal. What I could have done with them 40 years ago!

Ahhh, hmmm. Excuse me. This started out about pencil writing on paper. So, I love to write on paper. I love the feel of longhand smoothness as I compose sentences and erase the mistakes, and move on and write again. I've found that some notebook paper--the lined stuff you can buy at Wal-Mart for like 20 cents for a package of 100 sheets about the time school is going to start--must be treated paper. Some I've bought is so smooth, my pencil just glides over the surface like butter sliding on a warm skillet. I found in my old stacks of unused lined school paper, however, the very opposite--rough, scratchy paper. I don't like writing on that kind.

Of course, I love brand new, very sharp pencils. I'll use a dull one if I have to, but I prefer new sharp ones, just like I prefer a very newly sharpened knife when chopping, slicing, etc. while cooking. A writer or cook is no better than her tools. And good tools should be sharp. Like my mind. (I wish.) Used to be somewhat sharp. But, well, my kids give me grief all the time about how my mind is slipping.

So, I love writing with pencils. I even like some mechanical pencils, especially those that have the .5 mm leads or smaller. (We all know it's really graphite because lead, real lead, is a deadly poison that nobody wants around. Actually--and you can correct me if I'm wrong, but a long time ago--yes in my lifetime--I think some pencils actually did have lead in the writing part. People used to, excuse the graphicness of this, but, people used to spit on their hand or something and put the lead part of a pencil in the spit--I forget why they did this--but the lead would turn purple. I remember seeing people stick the pencil in their mouth before writing, like it made the "lead" work better, or something. If anyone knows more about this, I'd like some more information. Weird. Sorry.) Which also makes me remember having to sharpen pencils with a knife--yes, sharp knife--of course. I've done it myself, but much prefer my handy electric pencil sharpener. It's great!

Sometimes when I write, I like to try different writing styles--the physical part. Like slanting my letters left or right, making them closer together or spreading them further apart. Making them tiny and concise. Or, large and flowery--ehhh. Maybe not exactly flowery, but heading in the direction of being pretty-ish. Sometimes I've noticed that my script more closely resembles my Mom's tighter, rounder characters. I hardly ever write like my Dad did with bold, almost rigid straight lines on a right-handed slant. Sometimes I don't think anyone could possibly read what I've written--including me--and other times I've surprisingly received compliments on my "beautiful penmanship". I think those folks were just being nice.

I always try to have paper and pencil handy--in my purse, glove box, by my bed, of course by the phone(s) and in whatever bag I might be traveling with because I might, just might, think of something I need to write down before I forget it. Honestly, one night at about 2:30 a.m., I had a brainstorm and had to get up, turn on the light and take dictation. My brain was racing with ideas for a project I was working on and, well, I suddenly had a jillion and a half things flood my brain. I'm sure I only captured a few or three on paper, but it helped tremendously with my project.

Of course, there were the many times I had wonderful poetry, song lyrics and melody (which I wouldn't know how to write if I had to) that have wafted through my slumbering thoughts and I felt prompted to get up and write them down, but being asleep, I hardly convinced myself that it was essential. Especially after having one singular experience about 40 years ago when a poem came to mind. I didn't particularly like the poem, but it wrapped itself around my every sleeping moment and I couldn't shake it. The rhthym incessantly beat against me. The mental pictures--were pretty neat, but still, I refused to get up and write it down. From previous experience, I knew if I DIDN'T write it down, it would go away. Ha! I say. And again, Ha! But only for this one poem. Even after I got up, went to work and came home that next day, it simply would not leave me alone. And I still have no clue why. Want to know if I ever forgot the poem? Well, though it's been at least, or probably about 40 years ago, I can still tell you at least the beginning of it--which I finally resigned myself to write down that next evening because it would not be stilled. Period. Here goes:

Swiftly, swiftly soars the eagle, o're the rocky glen
It makes an arch, a smooth caress of feathers in the wind.

Okay. That's how it began, and yes, I did write it in pencil. When one is composing--or taking dictation, as in the case of the soaring eagle--one must write in pencil. That way, you can erase anything you need/want to. Well, I think I have a copy around here somewhere, just for posterity's sake. Weird after all these years it still comes to me.

So, on to Post-It Notes. One of the finer inventions of our time. I LOVE Post-It Notes, all sizes and colors and versatilities! I have tons stuck to my bulletin board on the back of my kitchen cabinet, the wall by my computer. And, on occasion, I've stuck them on peoples foreheads--only in the interest of helping them/me remember something really important. I use them in scripts, books, lessons, you name it, to mark really cool ideas, points I want to remember, points I want to share--They are fantastic. Wish I'd thought of them first and could be a bizzillionaire by now, but, well. I just use them and give my thanks to the wonderful individual(s) who invented and marketed them.

In case you're wondering, I also like writing with pens. All kinds of pens, but most especially really fine point pens. And I love colored pencils. You should see my collection. Some, are in mint condition--for future use, you understand. Some are merely stubbs, because of excessive usage. And Crayons. How can one not like Crayons? I mean really! They're so, well, colorful! And I love colors. My children--mostly my daughters--laugh about my huge collection of crayons, stashed in various locations. I mean, I used to work with Kindergarten children, and you simply have to have Crayons when doing so. And, often, I've donated--maybe a little reluctantly--a box or two (you know the ones about 128 Crayons size) to one or more of those daughters. One of them almost shares my affinity for Crayons--she even has a nifty little cylindrical holder/display item with a built in sharpener and other nifty stuff. I want one, too. Anyway, I love to color with Crayons. I like coloring with my grandkids, too. In coloring books, on paper, with Crayons doing the color thing on the paper, not the grandkids--you know what I mean.

Well, if I haven't bored you to death by now...Okay. I'll end this post for today. Hope you have a very colorful and delightful rest of the day.


Amy said...

Grief! Grief! Grief!

Just giving you some ;-)


Jana said...

Yeah, I don't ever remember giving you much grief about you losing your memory. I think you make a bigger deal about it. Maybe Andrew's the one who greives you. I'm so proud you mentioned me in this posting.

It's funny you have lots of crayons stashed around the house because I haven't seen you color anything for YEARS. Maybe I should buy you a coloring book. Have any preferences? = )