Nov 12

A Writer with $10

A $10 Target gift card, my reward for taking a survey, sent me to Target to look around. I intended to spend this mad money on my heart's deepest desire. Unsure of what that was, I went to Electronics seeking a small battery-operated radio, like a transistor radio, to have in case of a power outage. The clerks showed me clock-radios-- red-eyed black boxes that work neither as clocks nor radios and emit, at unpredictable hours, noises seemingly piped directly from Hell. They also showed me a radio that one straps to the arm and jogs with. Not my heart's desire.

I browsed the kitchen tools, hoping to replace the lemon zester lost while carrying utensils to class to use as inspirations for poetry. Not there. Longing for coffee I thought I might spend my gift card at the Starbuck's inside of Target, but the card may not be spent there. I looked in vain for a ceramic pour-over coffee funnel in Kitchen Appliances. Then I saw Hello Kitty merchandise and got an idea. I treasure a Hello Kitty pocket notebook, a gift from a student who overheard me admitting that I dig Hello Kitty. I log mileage in that notebook, and still have it. Seeking that notebook I saw others and suddenly realized that my heart's deepest longings, from the time I was small, are for office supplies. Office supplies are my second body! My second mind!

Beside the stacks of notebooks I saw racks of pens, Bic and PaperMate and a knockoff brand, sold in packaged platoons of three, five, 10 or 20. I couldn't recall when I'd last bought pens. My supply came free from auto-repair shops and health fairs, but these, because of their frailty, soon became invalids--pens that don't work although I keep them hoping they will. So I spent $10 for one very good, pink-barreled Dr. Grip gel pen and a package of five fat blue Bics Pro Plus. I took them home--they have no idea how lucky they are--opened their packages and wrote "Love" with each one, making sure that the first word born from each was an auspicious one.
Jun 28

Screening Test: Is The Applicant a "Writer"?

Employability/Disability Assessment (Instructions to screener: Check all applicable items)

This applicant:

writes for hours without being compelled to
calls word-processing "creative writing"
ignores housework
buys books
reads Middle English
asserts that the 18th century is important
believes beauty is truth
believes publication confers validation
claims his/her condition is congenital and "fun"
thinks 12 percent is fair and 15 percent is generous
feels uncertain about the line between poetry and prose
likes closed captioning
will struggle for an hour to get the "1" off manuscript page 1
thinks it would be "great" to live alone in a lighthouse for a year

Jan 22

I Hope You Know How Cool You Are

A writer is the world's coolest thing to be. Everyone secretly wants to be a writer.

Scores of people tell me that when they retire they will take up writing. Or they wish they could quit their good-money job and stay home and write. (It looks easy.) I am pretty sure they never will -- because when they ask me how to begin they don't listen when I say, "Start by taking a writing class." They usually talk about where they're going to move so they can write (a place with an ocean view) or how they will panel and decorate their home office. Anyone who wants to do something hungers for information. Anyone who wants to just talk about something talks.

It's true -- you don't have to imagine it: Hundreds of thousands of yuppies and middle managers and deans and real-estate sellers and stockbrokers and lawyers pass their days on earth hoping to summon up the bravery and confidence to be like you.