Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Lot Of Words....

Monday’s post was the 70th since I began this retorting on May 15. 

That’s a lot of words and ideas in a relatively short period of time…at least for me.  

I’ve been trying to maintain some sort of regular schedule. I figure I owe it to those of you who do check in from time to time to have something waiting for you when you arrive. 

It’s kind of like leaving cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve; you’re not really sure, but you just want to believe he’s out there.

Anyway, 70 posts in 4 months. Not bad. 

Now, I know, not all of my posts are gems; some of them are clunkers and not worth the wear and tear it took to pound them out on the keyboard. But most are at least original and things I’m kind of proud of. 

I’ve always wondered where the ideas come from.  What the mechanism is that allows a person to connect the pieces of a random jigsaw and create something worthwhile? 

When it’s working right, which luckily it often is, one piece of the puzzle just connects to the next until, voila…there it is, something tangible.

And many times you never saw it coming.

In fact, sometimes, you have so much fun writing it, you can only hope the reader will have half as much fun reading it…be it one reader or 10 or 10 thousand.

The funny thing is…growing up I hated to write…anything.

In fact, in college, if I had to write a paper beyond 4 or 5 pages, I would drop the class. And that’s not a joke.

The first 5 page freshman English Lit paper I had to write was probably my best work, in terms of creativity.  Not in the writing, but in the execution. 

I decided filling up 5 pages of standard 8 ½ x 11inch paper was a bit too daunting for me.  So I commandeered my architect roommate’s X-Acto knife and sliced off about 3 inches at the bottom of each page. 
My ingenuity was rewarded with a D- and a big red? from the grad assistant, who taught the course and resembled a blonde Charles Manson in both appearance and demeanor.

However, I was allowed to re-submit, whereupon I upgraded to a D+; so I guess the extra inches are worth it…no matter what they tell you...but I did triple space.

If I was stuck and absolutely HAD to take a required course like, “The Societal Effects and Aftermath of The Beverly Hillbillies on Global Economics”, I would agonizingly spit out a draft in longhand—atrocious in its own right—and then hire somebody to decipher and type it.

No revisions…just as is. 

And not to brag, even though I never mind bragging, after my experience with Charlie, I usually did pretty well.  In fact the most important piece I ever wrote was a philosophy of law paper, in which the professor, a highly regarded Supreme Court Scholar, reminiscent of John Houseman’s s Professor Kingsfield, commented on the top of the page…

“While arguments disjointed at times… there is much evidence of a mind at work!”

And that one comment meant more to me than anything else I ever took away from 4 years of college…except the assortment of beer mugs I “collected” from “The Varsity” home of the best pizza I’ve ever had.

The funny thing is, even though I say I hated to write, I’m not sure now if it was actually the “writing” I hated or the tedious labor involved in putting it on paper.

Jump forward nearly 20 years and I’m doing a job for a producer who was a little down on his luck at the time and couldn’t afford to pay me. So instead, he gave me one of his old computers; my entryway into the 250MB techno age. 

When I sat down at that nifty little keyboard—a lot less intimidating than my sticky, old Royal—I looked up at the soft, white letters on that bright, blue background and to my amazement whole words and sentences spilled from my brain and onto the screen; so easily, created, deleted, replaced and moved…anywhere I wanted. 

Suddenly a door opened in my brain and voila…I began to write…in earnest; and it actually made a little bit of sense.

Still disjointed at times…but still evidence of a mind at work.

And I haven’t stopped since….well, at least for good…not yet. 

Novels, short stories, corporate communications and even these blogs.

And I’m pretty sure you can do it too…if you try.

I wish I could be more instructive. But I’m still not even sure how I do it, or what to call it.

Mostly I call it paying attention and putting it down—if not on paper—on something tangible like a computer or a Pineapple, whichever suits your needs.

The stories are all out there waiting to be filtered through your brain and into our heads. 

Start clicking away and you’ll be amazed at what happens.

I know I always am….


And now, as of Jan. 19, 2012, I’m up to 128 posts and counting. Still amazed I have that many words to spare, let alone make sense of them.  But then I’ve never been known for my sense making abilities.

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