Words and Voices

It's a selfie!

It’s a selfie!

It turns out that writing is hard on the elbows. At least, typing on a laptop on a hard, wooden kitchen table for hours at a time is hard on my elbows; but then again I’m not accustomed to doing marathon writing sessions like I’ve been doing for the past two days. Maybe, like a marathon, this is something that requires endurance training. Maybe sore elbows is the equivalent of getting blisters.

It also turns out that a little bit of nerves is good for productivity: each time I would think about going to tomorrow’s temp job I would feel a little jolt of nervousness and each time I felt that jolt I would tell myself to stay focused and get back to writing. It didn’t always work- a few times I found myself getting sidetracked by other tasks, but it certainly kept me from dwelling on the nervousness.

I’m a little less giddy about day two of Let’s-Treat-Writing-Like-A-9-to-5-Job, but I suppose that the novelty is wearing off. I did a lot more transcribing and a lot less new writing. Is there a better word for that? New writing? There seems like there ought to be- there ought to be a way to distinguish between the kind of writing that involves capturing the abstract and nailing it down into words vs the kind of writing that involves wrangling those words into domestication. I suppose the former would be called “writing” and the latter would be called “editing” or “re-writing” but that seems like a broad generalization of both tasks. Maybe words from the art world would be helpful: “sketching” for putting down notes and ideas or “drafting” for the act of committing ideas into words for the first time- still not a finished product, but the first step towards one. It is called a first draft after all. Then would come “composing”, “shading” and “detailing” and maybe even “inking” if we wanted a step that implied a certain level of permanence.

By this reasoning I’m somewhere between “drafting” and “composing”. I’m learning that I like to draft by hand: with a pen in a notebook, but composing is easier on a computer: easier to cut and paste and move ideas around.

It might be just as well that I’m not in the drafting stage: I’ve been watching a lot of Downton Abbey lately, which involves a lot of heightened language in British accents. Lady Mary, the Dowager Countess, Mrs Hughes and Lady Crawley have begun narrating my inner monologue. It’s a regular high tea upstairs in my head these days. I also recently finished reading “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion which is narrated by a man named Don Tillman “a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey” (according to Amazon). It was a fun read- a fast read, but now I also have a mental voice speaking to me from the extreme left side of my brain on the subject of efficiency, precision, logic and planning.  He seems to get along well with the ladies of Downton, though.

So there’s a lot on my mind, but I will need to put it aside for tomorrow. I am hopeful that the first day on the job will go well and the rest of the week will be smooth sailing. Fingers crossed. If nothing else, it will give me something new to write about.



~ by Gwydhar Gebien on July 26, 2016.

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