One of the things I tell writers who are just starting out is that to be a Writer™, you only need three tools:
- Something to write with.
- Something to write on.
- And a Slinky.
A writer, much like any fine artist, can grab just about anything to Write With – pencil, pen, brush, paint, beet juice, blood… I don’t recommend the last two, though, because they’re messy and the last one will likely raise questions that will only serve to distract the Writer from writing.
As for what to Write On, one could use a piece of plain or ruled paper, or a plain or ruled notebook, or a spiral or bound notebook, or something with a fancy cover or no cover at all (and by now you’re realizing I spend far too much time in stationery and book stores looking at and buying notebooks I have yet to fill). Other options are Post-It notes, used envelopes, or even brown paper bags if that’s all you have. I imagine walls are an option but see the notation about beet juice and blood above.
An efficient Writer could combine these two Somethings into one object such as a computer or tablet. The possibilities are nearly endless.
The Key, though, is the Slinky. Now this isn’t an advertisement for the manufacturers of the toy so much as it is physical reminder of how our lives are like Slinkys – one long length, wound around and around. And when the Slinky is collapsed, one can see how an image or scent or circumstance connects to other parts of our lives, and in that connection, we can find the inspiration for a poem or story.
In the early 2000’s I had a LiveJournal which I deleted after a few years in favor of Blogger. I’m still digging the depths of the Internet to see if I can find a trace of it. My blog “Binding Wor(l)ds Together” started in 2005 with a whopping 153 posts in the first year and quietly ended in March 2012 with one single post about a dragon who tried to eat the moon.
Now I’m back, eight years later, reading old posts and seeing how different and how similar my life is to that Writer Before. Slinkys. Spirals. The connection between Then and Now is the musing of a writer learning her craft and finding her community.
Even though I can connect my life through how I blogged in the past, I realize that I am blogging now in a different way, a way I can’t quite articulate yet. I’m keenly aware in these weeks since the first COVID-19 diagnosis was made in my home state of Washington, we are living in a time of great transformation. Compelling writing reveals the changes a transformational moment creates and propels us into new insights.
I imagine, then, my posts on this new blog will be a mix of past and present that I hope will give me insights I had never considered before. (500 words – Book Doula)