How we write

Many years ago, my grandmother gave me this sterling ink well. It has a green glass bottom and part of the interior is filled with solid green glass. It's been a bit battered through the years, but I've always kept it on my desk as a reminder that this is where it all starts. The ink must go onto the paper.

I was agonizing about throwing away first drafts I'd done on legal pads, pen and pencil, scratched through pages and all. Why I have this almost physical feeling about those papers is beyond me - maybe it's the memory of the act of writing, the moving of the hand across the lines, the doodling I did in the margins as I tried to figure out a scene. I can still feel the accomplishment as I flipped over to a clean, fresh page.

Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't trade computers for typewriters ever again.  My poor IBM Selectric got a workout.  And any major changes required retyping the whole manuscript. Lawsy, as we say in the South! It's like progressing from an outhouse to indoor plumbing. Wouldn't go back again, no, no,no!

Still, I find myself buying fancy cartridge pens, colored inks I can syphon into them, and notebooks with lines spaced just right for my lousy penmanship.  Every now and then, I start writing in one, and it curbs my hunger for the written word, in ink, on a piece of rag paper very quickly. It's so slowwww.

Now if the words would just tumble onto the page as fast as I can type, I'd be in good shape. Do you suppose one day we'll just have to think of the words and they'll appear, like magic, on the screen? Hope I'm around.