Thursday, July 14, 2011


How tender and sweet the light after a week (or more!) of rain. I haven't minded it so much - it's put me in the right frame of mind for these days free for writing.  I can't say I was especially productive today, but I did have the realization that I'm close to where I need to print the manuscript off.  I need to be able to write in the margins and feel the weight of the thing.  I find I can't really get a sense of the flow when I'm scrolling down a screen.  Once I had a draft of my last (as yet unpublished and beginning to be despaired about) novel, I would work and polish a section, a rather random part of the manuscript often.  Every morning, just work on a sentence or two, or a page.  And after that I went back to the start of the manuscript and read through to where I'd get stuck.  Then I'd work on that part.  And so on.  After a while I'd start in the middle and do the same through until the end.  I think this method has a lot to do with the use of a computer. But can you imagine what it would be like to write a manuscript on a typewriter?  The re-typing I think is the thing.  It puts you right back into the place where you want to be, but you're also completely free to change a sentence etc.

I'm old enough that I did learn how to type on a typewriter (the IBM Selectric) and though once in a while I fantasize about working on a typewriter for drafts, I think that the method I've developed suits my working habits.  One adapts to one's technology perhaps.

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." 

~ William Wordsworth

I was reading bits and pieces of V. Woolf's diary this afternoon when the writing had slowed down.  She writes:  "To lie on the sofa for a week.  I am sitting up today in the usual state of unequal animation.  Below normal, with spasmodic desire to write, then to doze."  Isn't this such a lovely image - to imagine oneself adrift on a sofa for a week....notebooks and favorite books at hand. A rigorous schedule of writing, then dozing. But it's mainly a dream, even was for Woolf I'm sure.  An afternoon though.  That could be real.


  1. I too learned to type on a typewriter. Mine was a beautiful old (but refurbished) Remington manual. It was necessary to really push each key very firm and deliberately -- definitely a labour.

    In the previous post I truly identified with this quote, ""When I don't understand a poem, or part of it, I don't insist: I try to be satisfied with what I understand, and I'm sure that another time, under other conditions, I'll understand more and understand something else..." >>> You see, I too find poetry that way; in fact, I say it's something like working on a crossword puzzle. Read it, get it, and those parts I don't get, I will come back to later and inevitably I catch hints or phrases with my new and fresh perspective. Sometimes it's necessary to revisit it multiple times but, in the end, it's such a great feeling.

  2. And then I find as I get older and come back to the poems I read as I was younger, they become richer, more layered. They are often just like crossword puzzles though! Diane, thanks so much for stopping by and all your lovely comments!


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