long or short?

After a good sleep (six hours!!) I feel I can do anything, so I have to be careful.  I must choose wisely what to do with this day so that I do not squander it.  Every day we have awesome choices, don't we?  It's such a temptation to - as Stephen Leacock (1869-1944) put it - "ride off in all directions at once".  I will harness that energy and enthusiasm and finish my new chapter.  I hope.  

But I have to bake some muffins for a few people. And I have started to send out my generic Xmas letter and must keep on before it's obsolete, so I have to finish those. (And then there's the wrapping and mailing to come - soon, before the price goes up).   I should formulate a master plan of menus, the food I must use up before I leave for half a year, so I don't have to toss too much. Speaking of tossing, my sock drawer needs tossing, (I've already stirred it.)  And what about my Paper Desk drawers, the ones with file folders and envelopes, extra Scotch tape, stick pens, and keys I don't recognize?

Uppermost, of course, is the new chapter, but I'm having trouble with my computer; it won't file what I've written.  So I'm doing print-outs and I'll have to type them in later.  What did we do before computers?  Took more time, I guess.  Did I write better?  One editor told me several years ago that she could tell when I wrote longhand and when I wrote directly onto the  - into? - the computer.  That was when I broke my wrist.  (It is a good book.)

I can think of several writers who write their first drafts by hand, One, a friend, writes his first draft with a fountain pen. He says he likes the flow of the ink, matching his thoughts (no blots?). He writes his second draft on a noisy old Underwood typewriter and as he bangs away he likes to think he is forging his material physically.  The mystery writer P.D.James writes her books longhand and a secretary - the word is assistant now - types the copy into the material, prints it out and hands it over for revisions, and more typing.  Barbara Cartland (1901-2000), according to reports, dictated her books as she reclined on a chaise longue eating chocolates. (Do you believe that?) I remember reading that Truman Capote (1924-1984), wrote lying down on his sofa with his typewriter on his chest. (Do  you believe that?)  

Henry James (1843-1916) dictated his copy later in his career after he developed a painful hand from his writing.  I remember the name of his second amanuensis: Theodora Bosanquet (1898-1960) How can one forget a name like that? Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) also began to dictate her work when she suffered terrible pains in her hands from pressing so hard as she made carbon copies. Well, as the saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat. Or write a book. Apocryphal  stories abound, for example, that Peter Newman (b.1929) writes to the music of Stan Kenton. (Do you believe that?)  

I'm told that this is a favourite FAQ now, from wannabes to writers: "Do you write longhand?"

There, now, I dozed off and the first fine flutter of creation is wafting away.  Have a nice day.





Today I will write directly...into my little laptop, squeezing my thoughts to fit. Not really.