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A Guide to Writing
The practice of becoming a writing geek will show huge rewards almost immediately. If you have mastered the rock concert, the dinner in a five star eatery, the transcontinental journey – utterly and completely alone, there will be rewards, there just won’t be as much contrast because you already know what it’s like to push the far edge of discovery, to test your parts.
You can’t write a journal or anything else if you aren’t ready to go out on your own. It’s true that writing is a solitary act, but you must take your act on the road because there just ain’t enough material hidden away in the attic. You must get out, you must. If you need fortitude, and this is so delicious, grab a book. Going out alone is easy, if you carry a book with you. With a book you can go anywhere. A book is a passport. You can go anywhere with any book and you will be assumed a) intelligent, or b) important. Once you begin to carry a journal and a novel around with you as backup for solo social adventures, you become a writing geek. You have earned your membership card, and are almost a candidate for the secret geek decoder ring.
As a writing geek, I am imminently qualified to offer the warning signs that you too, are becoming a writing geek. These traits are not listed in any particular order of importance; your characteristics may have a remarkable quality all their own.
- You carry your journal around with you everywhere, and when you don’t have it with you, your brain becomes stuffed to overflowing with provocative ideas.
- You have a favorite style of pen you like to use because you like the way it feels moving across the page. You actually write so much that you can tell the difference between different kinds of pens, and you have one kind that you highly favor.
- You will not, under any circumstances, let anyone ‘borrow’ your favorite pen. No sirree, no way.
- Sometimes your favorite pen leaks and gives a great, huge blotch of blue stain over to your fingers that no amount liquid detergent can erase. These distinguishing marks afford you great satisfaction.
- You take your journal everywhere. Did I already mention that? I mean seriously, everywhere.
- You take notes like a mental patient. Standing in line at the grocery, waiting for your double deluxe non-fat extra dry, no-foam latte, sitting on a stone bench at the car wash. Everywhere.
- You write in the morning, you write at night. You write fast and furiously, lazily and languidly; you write like you’re making your own life up as you record each savory verb, each tangy noun.
- You dream of writing and may actually be jealous that your dream writer is a more resolute wordie than you.
- You arrive early at the movies and sit in the semi-dark, jotting notes about the way the place smells, the distant sounds that penetrate the think walls between auditoriums, the ordinary quality of light.
- You sit in public places writing, and ignore the sideways glances of strangers who imagine that you’re a journalist, traveling through exotic locations to record the behavior of native dwellers in their habitat.
- You keep more than one journal at a time, separating journals by subject and/or reference to time, distinguished by a a shade of nuance that only you understand.
- You have a voracious appetite for fiction and non-fiction, in no apparent order.
- Words dance around your head like the little birds in the animated version of Snow White. They even dance on your fingers when bidden.
- You copy entire phrases out of books you love or by poets whose babies you would birth if only you could.
- Your journals are filled with your inspired works and the works of those who inspire you because imitation is the highest form of flattery and beside how else will you fake it until you make it, and it’s okay as long as credit is given where credit is due?
- You have journals so precious they never leave a particular room in your house, much less the house itself. You have traveling journals – so tattered from wear of the smashed in handbags, book bags, grocery bags, briefcases, that they have grown soft around the edges. But inside, they are clear and crisp as a mountain stream.
- You mercilessly shun bad writing of any kind, lest it taint your own art. You eschew bad television, bad movies, even bad music as a bummer influence on your writing vibe.
- You elevate your skills by seeking the company of other, equally intense writing geeks.
- You are bewitched by punctuation, even the magical, seductive, subtle nuance of the semi-colon.
So get out there you geek, you, and be a secret agent for journaling. Be a reporter, a spy, a great, groovy Kerouac of a rebel, and write publicly, proudly. People may think you’re important. People may think you’re sent by the government to record their covert movements. People may worship you as a pagan goddess sent to illuminate their meager lives. More likely, they will take no notice of you; being too preoccupied with their own epic lives. That’s okay. You’ve become one of the proud and prolific, you are: The Writing Geek.