Writing my finger off


Yeah, okay, maybe not that dramatic, but it’s September, so how can you not have a baseball reference (especially with my long-suffering Orioles actually in the thick of things!)?

Welcome back.  It’s day two of “Writing Week”, celebrating the expected completion of “What Next?”, Book 2 of the Jeremy Shuttle Adventures.  Now, read on…

Like many things I do, when I get near the end of a long process, I really, really want to get it done.  Whether it’s cleaning (ugh), reading, watching a long movie or writing.  I have to resist rushing the ending, since the results will usually be disappointing in relation to the time I have invested.  You can imagine for most of the examples I listed how badly rushing could spoil something.

When it comes to these final few chapters of the book, I wanted to get through them quickly.  After all, I’ve had them “brain scripted” for weeks.  Let me get them down on paper and then get ready for the re-read and edit.

Well, not only is that a terrible attitude towards writing, it’s also impossible.  Once I get to the writing, the story drives me more than I drive it.  So it happens again, when I sit in my dilapidated chair on the beach, I don’t get my wish.  Nothing gets rushed and yet everything comes in a rush.

Diversion:  My chair is really a tailgating chair and it apparently doesn’t react well to sun, sand and salt…I should toss it and use my other chair, but it’s a matter of stubborness…I’ve used the chair all these months on the book and by golly I’m going to finish the book in the chair.  Even as it unravels around me!  End diversion.

The writing is “unplugged” now.  It’s flowing in great surges.  It actually takes me effort to slow up enough for my handwriting to be legible on the page.  Because of that, my hand is literally flying across the pad, the words coming so fast to me that my hand has trouble keeping up.

The problem with an eruption of verbage that great is that my body strains to match my thoughts.  My hand clenches the pen in a death claw, my forearm and wrist lock in tandem as I yank the pen as fast as I can from left to right.  I just can’t write fast enough and that means I push even harder.

At some point, the awkwardness of the effort forces me to pause.  I have to unclench my fingers and flex them and my poor ring finger is battered and flattened.  Good thing I’m not married (remember:  lefty)!

This is due to my odd writing position.  I never could quite get the hang of the “proper” method taught in school and my “hybrid” style works fine, except under the strain of high-speed scribbling.  By the time I finish for the day, the finger is misshaped and feels as if it was caught in a drawer.  Oh how I suffer for my art.

Never has my plan of writing one day and typing the next seemed so prescient.  The “day off” (typing instead of writing), allows the finger to recover and me to forget.  Until I hit my stride the following day and the words come faster than my manual dexterity.  At that point, I’m almost literally writing my finger off!

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