Sunday, June 08, 2014

LOOK, MA, TWO DIGITS


Must write past this wrong
using inadequate tools:
One finger, one thumb.


The other day I started a jag on the tumbling of walls and promptly wrote myself into a corner. Whatever It is, It isn't here — not right now. The well still feels full, but something's clogging the machinery, stopping the flow from getting to my fingers.

I tried longhand. Still a no-go there, and after two years I'm tempted to give up on Lefty. But he's always been there, from the time I was old enough to hold a pencil. Rank sentimentalist that I am, I still want to write a last love letter by hand; no matter the flowers in the words or the magic of typing on glass, there is no romance in a mash text.

I tried block printing but the form demands no flow, no chance at rhythm when your hand is executing a series of short, sharp actions. Printing is like stabbing; it works, but it's ugly. And the blood. My God, so much blood.

I tried a laptop, but the keyboard felt foreign — too much sprawl. I didn't know what to do with my pinkies. That's never a good place to be.

So it's back to the phone and two digits: left thumb, right index finger. I have evolved (devolved?) into a minimalist, and without surprise I realize that my writing has narrowed, too. Refined would be fine but it's not that, it's never been that. As a writer I am not an elegant man. I have style. Had.

What emerges now is something mutant, a barrel-bottom baby with some charm and skill, but goddammit, he's only got a thumb and an index finger. There's only so much you can channel through two straws, no matter how delicious the milkshake. And when the pipelines are clogged drastic measures must sometimes be taken, even if it means feeding the writing bastard. The Muse would know what to do without even knowing she had the answer. Goddamn her.

Time to experiment. Troubleshoot the plant and see what still works. Exploit the voice-activated solutions. This is not daylight duty. In the meantime, it's Play-Doh. As I make a smiley face I say to myself: I am the Third Revelation.

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