Nothing frustrates and de-motivates a writer more than a power failure.
Writing a column is sort of an evolution of words. Once the words have been typed into my computer, they are forgotten until I go back to proofread. The challenge with typing it into my computer as the words present themselves is that the computer is powered by electricity. If the electricity takes a leave of absence, my words disappear like Grandma’s Christmas cookies. Gone, never to be seen again.
This is why I have taken to writing my column long-hand and transferring it to the computer when I am finished. It’s an extra step but, as every parent knows, it’s easier to take the time to put a diaper on a baby than to deal with the consequences later. Call it an insurance policy.
This less technological method has its own set of challenges, however; the most difficult being that I need to find a pen and paper.
The composition notebook that I have been using also doubles as scratch paper for my daughter’s math problems. She doesn’t mean to take my livelihood and scribble integers, exponents, and quadratic equations all over it. To her, paper is paper. If she could read my chicken scratching, she might realize that this is the notebook Mom uses to produce her columns… but, would that stop her? Not if she couldn’t find another source of paper.
The pen situation at my house is critical. Most days I can’t find a pen to save my soul. My youngest boy has absconded with every pen he can find, so that he can manufacture his newest invention: A Q-Tip launcher.
He rips the guts out of the pen and uses the cylindrical barrel as the cannon part of his launcher. Sometimes he makes a blow gun. Sometimes he’ll use two barrels, Scotch-taped together in a T-shape and attach a rubber band to make a Q-Tip crossbow.
He has a large arsenal of Q-Tip weapons lining the walls of his bedroom; all made with the latest in ball-point technology. The weapons, along with his camouflaged comforter and the pup tent he has erected in there, qualifies his bedroom as an armory.
It’s sometimes possible to find the ink cylinder, with or without the writing tip, but never a whole pen. I guess this means the tools of my trade are being weaponized without my permission. I have taken to buying pens in bulk and hiding them in the medicine cabinet. I found out later that the medicine cabinet is his Q-tip supplier. So, yes, he found the pens. The only other place he won’t go without some degree of insistence on my part is the bathtub.
Maybe I should switch to pencils, but, for me, pencils are a difficult thing with which to write. If passion for a particular idea strikes, the pencil lead is not strong enough to handle it. Inevitably, the point will break off just as I am getting fired up about something. The feeling of rage this inspires is not unlike that which is caused by a power failure.
Another tool of my trade is the Thesaurus. I use it nearly every day to find synonyms. The other members of my family use it to press flowers, build alien forts and prop up a corner of the sofa. It also makes a decent coaster for my husband’s coffee cup.
This blatant misuse of my writing tools makes me so… what’s another word for pissed off? Wait, I have to go look under the sofa.
Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at email@example.com Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more info.
Laura is a syndicated columnist, author, & speaker. You can reach Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org Or visit her website <a
for more info.