Writing Writing Writing: Wearing Down the Keys

Happy Monday everyone!

Never ones to sit still for long (apparently: this forever travelling lifestyle is quite a new one for us!), I’m already neck-deep in planning our next adventure in just under a month’s time. Still, I’m also cherishing the chance to enjoy somewhat more lazy days with no study hanging over my head, especially since there are plenty of little ‘to do’ items that I’d like to tick off while I’m on a break. Regardless of everything else, what features highest on my priority list is, of course, writing—which, for the purpose of this list, includes working on editing my behemoth of a novel—and I’m feeling really excited about the new short story I’m putting together for the US International Short Story Competition. My protagonist, Ophelia, is a dentist with a fear of water… a weird as all hell combination that I’m all tingly with the idea of exploring further (in far more of a literary fiction vein than a lot of my other work).

Remembering our last trip in planning for the next one! (Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park, Mar 2017).

My world revolves around words right now—as always, to some extent—and I’m so caught up in the process of creating, the process of scribing and imagining, the process of seizing pen and paper at any given moment, that everything makes me think of writing. I’m a fountain pen kind of writer, but I’m typing this, and I realistically have to type pretty much everything in the end, and thinking about writing makes me notice that on my laptop keyboard, the ’s’ and the ‘l’ are beginning to wear out a little. Just along the bottom edges, the black is scraping slightly away from the crisp white outline of the letters. For some reason, I’m not really upset at the this sign of my beloved Mac’s ageing process (though it wasn’t inexpensive and should I have to replace it anytime soon, I’ll be fairly unimpressed). Rather, I’m left fascinated. Why those keys? The new white creeps out from the old confines of the letter like a persistent moss: one has to imagine that, in time, it will continue to grow. Perhaps those two keys will become unrecognisable as the years pass (there had better be bloody years left in this thing) and the only reason I will know them is that they sit in their same, old familiar places.

How magical is that? How many words have I typed on this laptop already? It must be a lot. I mean, we know it’s at least 130 000, because that’s how long my novel is (come to think of it, I never noticed this wearing of the keys prior to transcribing my manuscript, so maybe it is to blame). Add in university assignments, blog posts, short stories, competition entries, crazy dreams and weird ideas… That’s a lot of words. I wonder if I can conservatively estimate 200 000? Or higher still?

Better question… How many words will I write and type during this year? What about in my lifetime? Every so often, I can’t resist the sweet fall into considering the beauty of the possibilities that lie ahead, and what I can do and will have done in six months from now, or a year, or a decade. The key is to cling to the possibilities of the future when disillusionment and frustration sets in (a process I’m still working on, as poor James can attest), but knowing that I have really all the time in the world to develop and perfect my writing, to explore every twisted nook and cranny of my wild mind, is incredibly magical.

I have to keep it short today: there is so much to do and I’m excited about doing it, whatever it is! See you all on Friday.

–Ana.

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