I'm going to start writing today. See how it goes. I hope it goes. I have commented before this on how much energy it takes to launch a new work. I've got bits and pieces and thoughts and inserts but nothing official, nothing that says, hey, here I am. Not up and running yet but starting to jog. Writers have different rituals to get them started. I've read a number of them; perhaps some of them are true. Various stories of Hemingway put him standing him naked at a table after sharpening several pencils. I couldn't do that. I need to be warm. Peter Newman writes accompanied by Stan Kenton. I couldn't do that, either. I like silence. I remember advice I read long ago - you can tell how long when I tell you to put a clean sheet of paper in the typewriter and write "Shit" at the top of the page. The idea is that you then rush to write something else to absolve yourself. Lots of information there: don't waste paper, no White-Out, no Delete, hey --no computer. Not everyone, however, writes a first draft into the computer. Barbara Cartland is supposed to have dictated her deathless prose while lying on a chaise longue eating chocolates. Soft centres? Truman Capote also liked to lie down but with a (presumably portable) typewriter on his stomach. I personally know a writer who writes his first draft with a genuine fountain pen; he likes the noise of the nib as it glides along the paper. (He'd certainly hear it where I am now.) Then he rewrites on a noisy old Underwood typewriter, and he likes the noise and the physicality of that, too. I started university when I was 15 and the summer before classes began, my father said I should go to Business School and learn to touch-type. I didn't want to but of course I did. You didn't say no to parents in those days. In the fall, I would go to my father's office on the weekend and use the typewriter there to write my essays and then at Christmas I received a nice little portable, the one I wrote my Master's thesis on six years later. The point of this is that I learned to think on a keyboard. Later, when I was writing a daily spot for radio, recording three weeks' worth at a time, I had to learn to think with a ballpoint, writing longhand, in planes and trains and coffee shops, wherever, to keep up with the inexorability of a thought a day, something like a blog, come to think of it. I broke my wrist the summer before I wrote LIFE'S LOSSES. Out of the cast, it was too weak to type for a while so I wrote the first draft longhand. My editor said it was better written but that may have been because by that time I had written several books. I'm having trouble with my iPad Mini (I call her Minnie for short), because I find it difficult to touch-type on such a tiny keyboard. The keys, but they're not keys, skitter away from me, no, my fingers skitter away from the letters. Oh dear. I have to go and write now.