I woke up this morning full of ideas. In fact I started writing bright and early. Email mostly. I even felt on my game writing thank yous to clients. Midday I listened to an inspiring Ray Bradbury interview. It was a good day. I felt on pace for big things.
Then I got a notice from the State Department of Revenue. Remember them? I don’t…or I should say I didn’t remember; I forgot about them. Well, hell…it is summer for crying out loud. A guy goes on vacation. Prior to my vacation I wanted to know why the State of Minnesota thought I owed money. They sent some information that I quickly figured out, then went on vacation, came back…and forgot about it.
The State of Minnesota Department of Revenue, however, forgets nothing. With the help of some laws, they will get what they need from my next two pay checks!
Actually, this isn’t such a bad thing. It is a relatively small tax levy and I do in fact owe the tax. But what a shock…At one moment I’m light as a lark and even thinking I might flit about tweeting like a lark, then I get this email from my payroll manager: “Hey, uh, do you know anything about this?”
That will take the wind out from under even the most light and nimble lark, trust me. In fact, an email like that is to a good mood what a shot gun is to a little song bird.
As an aside, what is a lark anyway? I will have to consult my Sibley Guide. I can’t say I would know a lark if I were one.
Anyway, the bank account will cover my legitimate tax bill and I quickly recovered…but only after giving the collections department a piece of my mind. (I understand why men grow cranky as they age. It is fun!)
Sadly, however, the writerly spirit that awoke with me this morning never returned after that. It is out doing some flitting about of its own somewhere, leaving me with a hot laptop purring on my thighs. That’s not quite what I like purring on my thighs, or on my anything-else for that matter. So I looked for inspiration. I read a little Thomas Merton (The Seven Storey Mountain), Moby Dick, and a short novel by Stefan Zweig, Journey into the Past.
None of it did anything to inspire me.
Next I tried an essay in Sunday’s paper by Molly Ringwald. She wrote about parallels between writing and acting. While I can’t say I didn’t like the essay, it reads like my blog posts, i.e., it reads like a first draft.
Who am I to cast stones, right? For the most part I don’t proof and edit here either. I keep an eye out for typos as I write and that’s about it. Molly’s essay read like someone else kept an eye out for typos. I don’t mean to be mean (should that be edited?), but her essay appeared in the New York Times and I feel that it should have a bit more depth and polish, suitable for the New York Times. I get the gist of her essay, though; it makes sense and I guess that’s key.
At last inspiration. I thought being a bit more careful and polished might not be a bad idea for my stuff. Working and reworking some of my writing might even help get something finished. (I benefit greatly from deadlines, by the way.) So I pulled out some writing I have done recently, found a clip board and a red pen, and sat down to read, edit, and think a little.
First thing I notice, if I may say so, is the writing I picked to edit isn’t all that bad. Second, it is a lot of fun to read and rework stuff; as long as I don’t overdo it, a little tender loving care might actually help. And the third and final thing I’ll admit to discovering…I write very differently when I write other things. On this blog, I think I write as if I were composing a quick email asking you to join me for lunch. I just put it all out there, like a chatty seven-year-old, and thus not very efficiently. (That’s a nod to you, U No Hu.) Seven-year-olds have such a nice economy of words, don’t they?
So tonight I have had the red micro Sharpie out and been stroking like a mad man. Wait a minute…certainly that should be edited, but true to my blogger form…nope. Broad red PEN strokes — Sharpie strokes, to be exact — have been good to me tonight. That’s what I meant.
What about you, have you done anything good for yourself tonight?
- Molly Ringwald On Writing (actlikeyoumeanbusiness.wordpress.com)
- Local Merton group attests to monks influence (wvgazette.com)
- Is Molly Ringwald Right? Is Writing Like Acting? (huffingtonpost.com)
- Sharpie Art Personalized Plates! (cobwebscupcakesandcrayons.com)
- Lark or Owl (leggotunglei808.wordpress.com)
- Ray Bradbury’s 7 Rules for Writers (thoughtcatalog.com)