I whined, but I wrote

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The two suitors offering to light my cigarette are Frustration and Distraction. You know those boys, and they’re not gentlemen at all. It’s bad enough when one of them comes calling, but I’m being double-teamed.

My personal, sacred scribbling time suffers, and it makes me difficult. Frustration and Distraction are wild-eyed bad-boys and they’ve both simply got to shoo.

I used to have this delightful hour every day when I sat outside – rain, shine, or tornado – and did a little hand-scribbling in a chemistry notebook. I’m one of those fidgety extroverts who can’t write in a closed room alone, so I always wrote outside the student center or at the local coffee shop. Just enough solitude, just enough background murmur, and the perfection of a good notebook.

It wasn’t that I was stoically productive or especially brilliant at those times, that wasn’t really the point. It was a languid, trusted hour without rules and “no smoking within 25 feet of door” signs. It was my hand gripping a perfect pen and gliding over the page with so much to say, to cram into that little hour. It was bad coffee and too many Virginia Slims in places where I never had to create a character because they were sitting all around me. Makes me a little misty just thinking about it.

I’m going to whine now, so pay close attention.

The problem began with the outdoor smoking ban at the coffee shop and student center renovations that cordoned off my Very Perfect Place To Write. These two events happened concurrently, leaving me no choice but to write in my office or at home. Both places lack ever-changing crowds and weather. Both places have a computer, and I suspect the computer is killing me. I really do.

In the time it took to write this far I already checked Ebay, my office email, my personal email, my students’ group blog, the weather for tomorrow, and CNN for the latest on the Michigan primary. Hillary won a one-man (person) race and Huckabee finished third. I’m serious. You know I am because you do this, too.

Frustration and Distraction. There they are. It’s enough to age me beyond my 36 years (thanks for the suggestion, Tim).

I’ve decided that the computer also makes me rewrite as I’m creating – something that doesn’t happen when I’m handwriting. It also makes me all parenthetical and dashy – a terrible, computer-invoked symptom reflecting an inability to concentrate for more than, say, three running seconds. Multitasking is good if you’re trying to clean the house or get ahead at your factory job, but it’s literary murder for those of us who need to write for extended periods just to feel balance.

I ran across a blog the other day that blew me away – Strikethru. Typecasting or papercasting is so delightful that I won’t attempt explanation. I’ll just show you. And then I’ll check my mail and Ebay and go to bed. You really should stop by this site.

5 thoughts on “I whined, but I wrote

  1. Computers distract me, too. I’ve found to write a paper, which takes a long time, you know, I have to unhook the thing from the Internet and bait myself to get to the end of page 4 with cigarette and facebook breaks. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doest. Regardless, I always scramble to finish assignments 15 minutes before class.When it comes to my creative writing, what I’ve gotten in the habit of (and I learned it from Terry Wright) is keeping a small notebook in my pocket and writing little snippets of other people’s conversations or ideas throughout the day. I’m also guilty of writing poems in class, but my teachers think I’m taking notes, so it’s okay.I hope you get your writing spot back soon. I was trying to think of another covered place tables on the UCA campus but none come to mind.

  2. I use the headgames when I rewrite. It always works. When I’m making something new, though, it doesn’t. I’ve just got to trick myself out of distraction.In the meantime, I’m on the hunt for new and better (and crowded) writing spots.

  3. I can’t help but feel the irony of delighting in Strikethru’s post while attempting to write a blog for today….Now for something completely different: have you ever read/listened to Basil Bunting?

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