Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Unexplained Regression

Still working on the China story, and an odd thng happened: I suddenly wanted to write it in longhand. I used to work longhand, before computers, and then pay a typist, but the advent of computers meant my typing looked almost normal -- no more topographical maps that were hills and valleys of Liquid Paper. So now I type on a laptop (with one finger -- 600-page novels with one finger), but all at once I'm back to longhand, all of which will later have to be typed in. Why? Who knows?
Writers have strange ways of warming up for writing. Agathie Christie washed dishes; she said having her arms immersed in warm water helped the flow of ideas. Truman Capote went one better, immersing his whole body and writing in the bathtub. Faulkner drank. So this story (to decend from the exalted to the ridiculous) wants to be written sitting up in bed, longhand, on a clipboard so old the corners are soft and frayed like a blanket.
Go figure.
--Nancy Kress


Carmen Webster Buxton said...

Nancy-- hi! Remember me? I took your class at the Writer's Center in Bethesda, and I'm friends with Sharon, Mindy, and some of your other students. I found your blog clicking a link to you that I put on my own home page.

Welcome to the blogosphere. I've only been at it for six or seven months myself. It's kinda fun.

As far as the logistics of writing, it seems like every writer has her/her own way of working. Hemingway typed standing up! He had a really tall desk, I guess. I would never last more than a paragraph that way. But I can't imagine longhand. I occasionally make notes in longhand, but that's about it. Give me my laptop every time! And hopefully, keep the cats from walking on the keyboard.

karen wester newton

Nancy Kress said...

Cats walking on the keyboard is something that at least I don't have! I'm glad you're still writing, Karen.

José Iriarte said...

You might want to try borrowing a tablet PC some time for a day or two if you can, and seeing if that conversation of writing and being direct on the computer works for you. I'm still generally most comfortable typing first, but sometimes I find being able to handwrite on the computer useful--like when I'm in a meeting or some other situation where the clickety-clack of typing would attract a lot of attention, or when I'm not in a physical position to type--like if I'm standing up and writing, which actually happens, believe it or not.