I have not regularly used a typewriter for many years, although I used a Selectric for a good while (I don't think that makes me very much like Hunter S. Thompson) and had a portable like Cormac McCarthy's.
Last summer, while the three of us were moseying around various parts of the province, we had a nice break in Corner Brook. One of the new additions to the city is a monument to Al Pittman, the late poet and author of plays like West Moon and children's books like Down By Jim Long's Stage.
It's a lovely monument, and a labour of considerable and obvious love by his good friend, Gerry Squires. [Read more about its unveiling last year here.] The monument can be seen in a small park downtown, and quite near the offices of the Western Star, where Al worked for many years.
"Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils." - Margaret Atwood
I've worked independently a couple of times during my career, and can relate to the humour in this video, although I think it will be even more biting for the independents (the graphic designers, the web developers, the writers, and so on) that have astonishingly frustrating conversations with clients about pricing.
I love this ad for Staedtler, as seen here. Although I compose almost always with keyboards, and have become accustomed to tapping notes into devices, I still always tote around notebooks. I have a mugful of pencils, and can't imagine not having a supply reading for jotting quick ideas, making a list, dreaming big ... whatever.
And, for that matter, don't use other verbs instead of plain but reliable said.
Elmore Leonard gave these bits of advice (you can read more in the cartoon above) that are included in this admirable collection on Open Culture of writing tips from a variety of esteemed authors.
It's all good stuff, and I must say I felt pleased to read Leonard's advice on avoiding alternatives to "said." It's a tip I pass along the time. (We don't have to worry about it broadcast journalism, as the clip speaks for itself; in print and in online, though, we by necessity quote people.)
I remember once reading a piece from a newspaper that involved a lengthy interview with a single source - and the verb "said" was replaced each and every time by a different altenative. The verbs used were ones like "exclaimed," "posited," "related," "explained," "joked,' and so on. And so on. There were, indeed, more than 20, no two alike, and I know this because I counted them after noticing the trend.
And that explains the very point why it's best to avoid such verbs: they draw attention to themselves, and not what's being said. Plain old "said" carries the writing along, keeping the focused on what actually matters: the content.
I just put the kettle on for the fifth or sixth time today ... I'm not actually sure. When I have a chance to do some extended writing, I make a lot of tea. Yes, I'm primarily a coffee drinker, but making tea is as much about getting up, stretching my legs and thinking something out as it is about getting the next caffeine hit. (It definitely, though, is about that caffeine hit.)
"I’m the sort who works very hard on something for years. And then there are years where I do nothing, just a bit of wool-gathering or whatever. I like doing nothing, if I can avoid doing something." - Vikram Seth
[This quote was referenced in Sunday's edition of Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4, in which Seth was the featured guest. I tracked it down to this 2008 interview. Seth revealed that he has been working on a sequel to A Suitable Boy, to be called A Suitable Girl, for many years. We'll have to wait a bit later to see it.]
This afternoon, while Martha was off to a social event with her mom, Nick and I decamped to the coffee shop. It was his idea. We each bought brought a laptop; he's been flexing his own writing muscles, and is developing what he hopes to turn into a novel. It's his second go. I've been more than encouraging, as I've been studiously ignoring my own manuscript! Maybe I'll get disciplined when 2012 rolls around. In the meantime, we've had a great afternoon, sipping our respective beverages (coffee for me, milk for him) and chatting every few minutes.
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.