Sunday, December 04, 2005

Hooray for notebooks and candles

After I delivered Travis and Alex to their birthday party gig in Redondo Beach--yes, the Green Room, Trav's classic rock band, had their second paying gig yesterday; today they play at Gina's Pizza at the Corona del Mar Christmas walk (for tips)--and on the way home stopped at Pudgy Beads in Long Beach (a glorious vintage bead store with wonderful owners), bought a few things, then drove home, cleaned up a bit (always cleaning up a bit, it seems), lighted the candles I had bought at Ikea on the way to Redondo, and sat on the sofa with my Clairefontaine notebook and Waterman fountain pen (indigo ink).

My iBook G4, which I love, tends to make me a little too perfectionistic, when it comes to first drafts of fiction. It's so easy to delete. With the notebook, I just write. I don't care about being perfect. I can cross out, but I can't delete, and for me, this is a good thing. So I set the timer and sat and wrote and by the time I was done, the room was dark, lit only by candlelight.

This morning at 6:15, Rosie, our six-month-old cat, jumped on the bed and woke me. I tried, for a minute, to go back to sleep, but the house was quiet, bamboo wind chimes by the front door were clacking tastily, so I got up, straightened up a bit (see ... always straightening.....) and sat down with the notebook and pen and wrote a couple pages.

This got me thinking about tools, again. I still love sitting with paper and pen, getting comfortable, and writing. The laptop is good for nonfiction first drafts, though not fiction. Wish I'd remember that when I'm trying to write at the laptop and nothing's coming out.


Lorianne said...

Yes, writing by hand just *feels* different than typing on a laptop. When I type on a laptop, there's a subconscious notion that I'm doing *work*, and that this writing should be *correct* because it will be *shared*.

Writing by hand is more intimate. It feels private since no one but me reads my notebooks.

Dana said...

I once swore I would never do early drafts at the computer. But time and practice have conditioned me to prefer the word processor to pen and paper. Perhaps stiff fingers from so many years of gripping the pen more tightly than teachers in grade school taught has me preferring typing, too.

We all know how easy revision is at the computer. Efficient. But I sometimes wonder if I am losing thoughts to revision that I might prefer after time and reconsideration. If the drafts were on paper, I'd have those earlier words to reevaluate.

I often "save" drafts and number the next ones in order to preserve the progress of my process. For whom? Like Lorianne's notebooks, I doubt anyone will ever read them but me. But it does give me earlier constructions to consider with later revisions.

So, I will remain a convert to composing on the machine. It surprised me to have that happen, though.

ISF said...

I have a tactile experience with pen and paper that I just don't get with the computer. All of my first drafts are on paper - which makes the writing process longer for me, but much more fluid. Words just come easier from a pen.