Typewriter Madness

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This is my typewriter. There are many like it but this one is mine.

It eats ribbons. The carriage slips randomly. Its clanking aggravates the dogs. And its ugly-as-shit green finish won’t win any prizes or tender a high resale value. But she’s mine and I love ‘er just the same.

At first, I thought that purchasing the above typewriter, a Royal Quiet Deluxe, would en-kindle the nascent spark for writing that I’ve been harboring for a few years. And, in many ways, expected and unexpected, it did just that. Unlike a laptop, I can’t sit down at it and unwittingly find myself off in a world of puking cats and dancing babies. No, Regina (that’s her name), won’t tolerate such nonsense. In today’s world, she sticks out like a woman wearing a poodle skirt and horn-rimmed glasses. She has presence. She sits there and taunts me with her singular purpose. Have I locked her in the closet on occasion for this? Maybe. But it wasn’t because she didn’t deserve it.

Regina forces me to consider what I am going to say well in advance because once the key is hit, it’s there forever. No amount of x’s will fix what should have been filtered out before the hammer struck the page. I re-read Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft recently and he said some of the best advice he received was to edit out at least 1/3 of the first draft. If I can do that mentally, then it feels less like I’m cutting off body parts when it comes time to polish the first draft.

There is also something satisfying about seeing the stack of pages grow from day to day. It’s tangible progress. I can pick up the stack of papers, flip through them, tap them against the desk, and feel the heft. You can’t do that shiz with a laptop. Well, you can, but your DVD drive could stop working.

There’s something innately satisfying about sitting in my office with a cup of coffee or a whiskey and hammering out page after page. Each clack and smudge of ink signalling a step closer to conclusion. Not every page makes it into the stack but even throwing paper into the trash can is far more satisfying then hitting the delete key.

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Flawed Heroes and Drunken Gnomes

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I’m not completely sure how I feel about this, but my most developed story so far concerns a boozer gnome who is pegged to help the town elder defeat a family of people that are building a house too close to their village. Basically, the village is protected by a magical veil that, for the most part, shields them from the prying eyes of pesky humans. However, the elder, who is the last of a dying breed of magi, is concerned because his magic is failing and the oracle bones he threw chose a lazy, cider-sopped gnome to be his replacement. Will they be able to push back the humans? Will the drunkie gnome be able to grab hold of his destiny and lead his people to victory? Or will he instead wake up to the sound of bulldozers ripping through his shitty tree stump house? Don’t know yet. Stay tuned.

On an unrelated note, why is WordPress always “new” and “improved” so much so that I can’t navigate to settings pages that I am fairly sure used to exist sometime within the last six months. Bah humbug.

Whispering Muses…or Ideas and Stuff

Story ideas:

As I understand it, there is a several hundred acre area just west of where I live in which recently freed slaves were given or sold some land (not sure which) in order to scratch out a living. Well, the land was, at best, marginally arable and the community quickly dissolved. Many years later the acreage was converted into a conservation area and now only hunters and hikers use the land. There are occasional relics from the community scattered about if you know where to look…a stone foundation, rusted farm implements, clusters of day-lilies and other types of vegetation that have no place in the wilderness. I suspect there are several stories here. People toiled, bled, loved and died there although not much more than a handful of footnotes and scarce articles testify to any of this. I suspect not more than a handful of people in the surrounding communities realize that the community existed. Right now, I have nothing more than a jumping off point. If I can find any more information about the community, I suspect the story will pretty much write itself. If anyone knows anything about the people who lived in the Three Creeks Conservation Area, please let me know. I would be very grateful for anything you would be willing to share.

Another idea that has started to take shape concerns a just hired surgeon in the late 1800s who makes the journey from the east coast to a central Missouri university town in order to secure a position as the faculty head of the surgeon’s college. When he arrives, he discovers that the house he will be residing in sits atop a network of limestone caverns that harbors a hallucinogenic fungus that slowly affects him and his family’s behavior. Kind of a Lovecraft meets Stephen King kind of story.

There are other ideas rattling around but my wife says I have to stop now and eat the quiche she just made–speaking of hallucinogenic fungus.