New Tool

I write every single day. I have written every single day since I was about thirteen.

My first notebook was what I called my Zippercase. It was a one inch, three ring binder with a burgundy faux-leather cover and it could be sealed shut with a zipper. Thus, the name Zippercase. It accepted three hole punched, lined paper. I would load it up one week, write every single day, and by the end of the week I would pull those papers out, file them in another, larger, plain white, three inch binder, then fill the Zippercase up and I was off to the races. As the larger, plain white, three inch binder became full, I filed that away and got another binder. Sometimes Mom brought ones home from work. Sometimes Dad did. I know I had alot of them. I don’t remember ever having to buy a single one. I do remember buying the paper. The feeling I got – and still get – when I go to an office supply store is probably the same feeling that a true penitent feels when they enter their church. A sudden, overwhelming sense of possibility. I used the Zippercase all through my last years of grade school and all of high school.

I still have it. It’s in the basement.

I still have all of the white binders, too. About five of them. The handwriting is horrible. Tiny, little scratches, looking like arabic script, making you wonder if you read it right to left, would it make more sense.

I can’t remember why the zippercase got retired. I might have had good reason. I remember going to the Goodwill store with Dad because of some ‘silent auction’ thing where you had to chance to bid and buy on items that could be collectors to someone and then may, just maybe, you could get lucky and make a few bucks with a good find. I can’t remember what Dad bought. I know what I bought. I still have them both. A small kaliedescope, welded solid and very beautiful. And Zippercase Mark II.

This was a brown plastic portfolio that opened up top with a zipper. I think, at one time, it had the emblem of the City of Winnipeg on it somewhere. What it evolved into was something of a Writer’s Purse. I would carry multiple pens, pencils, pencil crayons, magazines, books, and finally, my new media of choice, The Black Book.

I’m really not sure what these are called if you ever went to your favourite supply store. These are the 92 page books, measuring about 5″ x 8″ or so, with a hard black top and bottom and are bound pretty good. The front page has all of your contact information, then you open the book and the rest of it is yours. I used these when I bought Zippercase Mark II. I kept all of these, too.

I must have either slacked off as I got older, writing fewer and fewer pages per day, for whatever reason. But I think I have all of the Black Books that I ever used. I put my count at about eighteen of them, filed away downstairs. Everytime that I look at that shelf, I think of the movie Se7en, where they finally break into the apartment of the killer, and Somerset sits there in the killers room, going over all of the killer’s notebooks, and remarks on how they are written from margin to margin, with no paragraph breaks or anything. The killer had hundreds of those notebooks. I only have a dozen or so. And I have never, ever killed anyone ever, in the name of God or anyone else. But, I do put The Divine Comedy and City of God among my favourite books

(though, City of God is a brainful ; I’ve never read it cover to cover. I keep it and read books of it at a time. It is currently underneath the couch upstairs – it’s an emergency release for me in case I catch myself up there not wanting to watch TV but still be with my wife. I can read with one hand and rub her back with the other while she watches the tube.)

I went from those notebooks to a PDA. I started with the Palm III, then the Palm IIIc, and then the Palm T3, all of them good. I learned the ‘graffiti’ script so that I could write with it like I could write with a normal pen. I think that it eventually had a dramatic impact on my current handwriting, to a point that when my hands get tired or I am in a rush, that it looks like the graffiti shorthand. I got more and more into my Palm, putting all of my work on it, my reading material on it, my personal email on it. I even tried to Bluetooth it to my phone, so it would be on my hip forever and for always. The the Palm T3 crashed. And I lost everything that I had electronically. And I never ever went electronic again. That’s why I won’t go to this new thingie that they are trying to sell through Amazon.

Make it as easy to read as you like, but my paperback has a reliable operating system (my brain), good memory (my brain, again), and a reasonable lifetime (some of my used paperbacks are twenty or thirty years old).

I went to something called a Hipster PDA, and that works well. Still does. I tried writing on it, and it doesn’t work as well. I bought a cheap, inkjet printer, that accepts the index cards and I use that to type up all of the important reference information I need. And I use the cards from time to time if there is a recipe I want to save or some notes that I want to file away for later that I know I will want to index. But not for writing. They are just too small and not too accomodating. But the Hipster PDA? If you ever have the chance, Google it or just take a walk over to 43 Folders and have Merlin get you up to speed.

My current ride is Moleskin and the Fisher Space pen. Moleskin, because, well, it’s cool and it takes a good deal of punishment and comes in a notebook form or a pad form, and they fit nicely into the front left pocket of a pair of jeans. They sell bigger notebooks, and I’ve got a couple of those (I think they measure 7 x 10 or something like that) that I’ve managed to fill in the past few years ; with one more on the go in Zippercase Mark III.

There was a brief period between PDA and Moleskin where I didn’t write anything at all. That lasted about a year or so. It didn’t have anything to do with the crash.

No. That’s a lie. It did.

I am an atheist. Tried and true. But when that crashed, I stopped writing because I thought it was a sign, a kind of karmic knock on my door, telling me to either take writing seriously and get something done, or stop jerking off in the boys washroom like some kind of cheese-eating schoolboy and grow up. I chose to stop jerking off and do what I could to grow up.

A great picture

But other than that short period where I lost my mind, I have written no less than five hundred words every day since I was thirteen years old. And I have done it where ever I was. At home, in the bathroom, the car, on the bus, at the dinner table, waiting to be served dinner, waiting to be seated, sitting at the bar waiting for a beer, after being at the bar for a half dozen beers, while eating greasy, messy chicken wings with my left hand, dipping it into the sinfully delicious blue cheese dressing dip, while writing with my right hand, putting down the pen only when I wanted to sip my beer. I write all of the time. I almost always have. I keep my notebooks on my at all times and I always have a pen on me.

This blog is a new tool to for me to use to make sure that I get in at least my five hundred words every day. And so long as I have access to a computer and the intertubes don’t get jammed or suddenly ass-plode all over, I won’t lose anything.

And now, for the first time in thirteen years, someone other than me is reading what it is that I write. Because to date, despite having written approximately 2, 372, 500 words over the course of the last thirteen years (this excludes writing that I had to do for school or for work), this is as close as I’ve ever gotten published.

Which reminds me, I made a bet with someone a few years ago that I never honoured. I think I owe him a case of beer. And back then, I couldn’t afford it. But these days, well, all I have to do is ask my wife and bang, I’ll have enough money to buy that case of beer.

I’m joking. I’m a big boy now. I get an allowance and everything.

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2 Responses to New Tool

  1. Bobby says:

    I’m happy that you’re getting so much out of this exercise, out of this experience. And I do appreciate you urging me to link less, to write more. I’m working on it, I’ll reveal everything soon enough.

    It’s funny, I have notebooks upon notebooks too, but from another exercise altogether: songwriting. I began playing guitar very late in 1997, and did it mostly cos I started finding music I really loved, and wanted somehow to share in it, to experience it in other ways.

    But then in 1999 (May, now that I think about it), I wrote my first song, something personal and painful and honest, one that I still remember every note of to this day. Over the course of that Spring and Summer, I wrote over 60 different songs (though many of them were really shitty, simple instances of putting rhyming words together), and since then, many, many more.

    And I have that same feeling, whenever I so much as walk through the stationery section in a drugstore – I immediately starting weighing in pens and paper, notebooks spiral-bound or able to flip. One by one, they end up in my apartment, scattered about with different verses, phrases, titles, concepts… even illustrated with feeble attempts at music notation.

    And I still have record, still have account of every finished song I ever wrote. Though many of them are packed away in boxes from various moves, they’re all nearby. And they all provide quite the insight (or lack thereof) into the workings of my sixteen-year-old mind.

    Sorry for the long response.

  2. arevival says:

    I had a meaningful comment to leave, ripe with nostalgia.

    Instead I will just mention that through a group affiliation I get 50%-80% off of Grand and Toy office supplies.

    Let’s discuss this further over a beer on Friday.

    J

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