Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Random updates

My Silent Type submission is now in the mail, beyond recall. Every time I think about it, I practically break out in a cold sweat. The poems I've started posting recently are about the closest I've come to revealing what I consider "real" writing--goofy short stories that really aren't very serious don't count. And every time I try to do serious, it usually comes out sappy or overwrought or childish or all of the above, if not worse. In the past, I've posted poems here and immediately yanked them out of fearful self-consciousness, and this whole journal thing is bringing out fearful self-consciousness writ large. I actually sent both a poem and a short story--I figure if the story is too horrible to print, maybe the poem is OK. But I'm pretty sure one or both should never see the light of day again. Maybe I should stick to slightly cynical silliness.

I used the SCM Classic 12 for one of my two submissions since it partially inspired the idea; but I was reminded of how much we don't quite get along over anything but short typing sessions. It's sad, really. It works just fine except for needing a minor adjustment to the shift position, and I like its typeface better than pretty much anything else I have: pica, nice open letters without anything quirky about them. A Courier typeface, pretty much. Very pleasing to the eye. And I have no accuracy issues with it. However, something about the feel of it rubs me the wrong way after a brief period. After finishing typing my short short story one last time, I switched to the Hermes 3000 to type my poem, and I could have kissed the little thing. Not that I'd ever do something as silly as kissing a typewriter. Ahem. But it really is almost sinfully pleasurable to write on. I'm reminded of why I enjoyed NaNo '07 so much, when that little guy and I cranked out four or five or more pages a day together.

But I think the Classic 12 will be finding a new home. I'll probably post it on Craigslist in the next little bit. It deserves love and I don't have any to give it. Why I should feel so differently about its little sister the Galaxie, I have no idea. There is a difference in feel, though, similar as they *should* be. In a way, the 12 feels more solid...but I feel like I'm fighting it every step of the way.

In other news...I'm back to paper for writing longer works and poetry and most everything else. The netbook is an awesome little editing and transcribing machine and I had good luck with some short story writing, but when I attempted to move my current novel in progress to it, I almost immediately did what I usually do with digital writing of any semi-serious sort: I started writing and rewriting and rewriting the same scene over and over. And contrary to some popular opinions, repeated drafts don't necessarily get better and better, particularly when you delete one whilst writing the next. Eventually that whole scene went all herky-jerky and forced, and I gave up in disgust. I've gone back to my usual writing and crossing out on paper and have almost recovered, but I'm essentially using none of the words I wrote on the computer. So much for saving time by starting out in digital format!

I'm still loving the $2.50 pocket briefcase thingie from Staples. I couldn't find it when I was getting ready this morning and about had a heart attack. Don't want to go without it. I thought the fact that it's open would mean I'd never use it, but instead, it seems less fussy than the full wallet, and I'm using it constantly for lists and ideas and poems and addresses and anything else that needs scribbling. I've really switched over fully to index cards for all on-the-go or short writing at this point. Love that when I get home I can drop them into the appropriate category in my big card box (Staples has nifty snap-together 1000 card boxes for $5!), toss any I no longer need, and grab a new stack of blanks to keep going. I think I'll declare myself the Index Card Queen. I kinda doubt the title is taken.


Mike Speegle said...

I wish that I could use index cards. I'm starting to run out of room in my brain, but for some reason every time I write something down on an index card, the card teleports to another dimension never to be seen again.

Strikethru said...

Your poems are awesome.

I always forget which of your typers has the 1960's robot font. Did you use that one?

Little Flower Petals said...

Mike, I basically have two allowed locations for index cards when I'm not actually handling them: in the "pocket briefcase" thingie, or in the filing box. So long as I immediately sort them (I have little organizer tabs in the box), I'm all set. And I'm a totally disorganized kind of person. Trust me on this.

I'm also coveting some of the folios and other products Levenger and Renaissance Art make to combine composition books or Circa notebooks with bunches of 3x5 organizer pockets. Mmmm....

Cheryl, the SG3 is the one with the marvelous robot typeface, but I didn't end up using it for Silent Type. I probably should have--it's unique (ish), and it's mine! That typewriter isn't going *anywhere*. It and the Hermes 3000 are my favorite typers for actual use at this moment, though the Galaxie has plenty of sentimental value. The elite font of the 3000 is especially nice for index cards...though it would be kinda cool to also have a pica version as well. If only 3000s weren't generally ridiculously expensive....

mpclemens said...

I know this is beating an old topic, but I truly love index cards. I think I was scared off the things in high school when we were forced to use them in "correct" ways to gather notes for papers, perhaps stemming from their still widespread-use in the library, each card neatly typed into little garden plots of significance: author's name here and page count here and call number here

My own card hoard is so less tidy than that. I did spend some of my downtime over vacation jotting ideas for the competing NaNo '09 novels, and they're all waiting now to be transcribed onto their own cards, where they might be shuffled and sorted and stacked ordered for the next four months in NaNoCipation.

I agree that once used, they need to be safely corralled. My toddler loves to spread cards around the house (she did this last November, many times.) A chunky binder clip and a box out of reach of Litle Hands seems to help. Blanks cards can be found in many of my roosting places, though -- a pile on the dresser, some by the basket where my keys sleep, a couple tucked into the zippered pocket on my book sleeve, and of course a stack in the Buxton card briefcase (yes, thank you Staples.)

Even the cards that are designated with work-ish tasks like tracking my projects and keeping my notes handy are happy, since they are usually filled out with some pen or another. Flipping through my stack of projects is a snapshot of what pen was filled at what time. "Oh, in April I was using that blue ink in the calligraphy pen. Then I switched over to the Levenger red in that fine point..."

I feel a paper swoon coming on.

Little Flower Petals said...

I think I made my organization system sound more organized than it really is. Basically, I have a big box with a handful of tabs. Most of the sections are very general, though. Like "Story Prompts," which are cards with little weird phrases or images, mostly--things I see or think of that I know could blossom into a story or scene or character someday. For example, one of the current ones says, "The sort of man who wears a belt AND suspenders." Feel free to steal that. And I have a section for poems, for used prompts, and a very few other things. They aren't alphabetized or anything.

And I feel inadequate as always at the news that you're already outlining for NaNo. I suppose I should embrace my seat-of-the-pants inner writer, but I'd rather slap her senseless and trade her in for something else. Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way.

mpclemens said...

I'm not so much outlining as woolgathering. The cards are great for that since they let me empty all those idle thoughts out of my head and dump them into the box. The problem with doing this is that by removing one or two ideas, a few more are dislodged and tumble out unbidden.

Little Flower Petals said...

Wool-gathering, huh? Someone's been reading Bird by Bird. ;-) Seriously, I love that phrase. It's rather picturesque. If you think about it, the process of making things from wool has parallels in writing: you start out gathering wool (which is a process in and of itself), and are left with a heap of dirty, unruly fluff. Then it has to be carded and washed and spun and *finally* used to make the final product. I'm not sure which parts of the process equates to what, but there do seem to be similarities.

In other news, a possible idea for my '09 NaNo project occurred to me this morning, and four fairly fully formed characters showed up out of the blue. I've been scribbling notes in hopes of keeping them from escaping again. If they stick around, this will be by far the earliest I've ever had an inkling. Usually I'm clueless until about the third week of October.