This past weekend, Jim and I moved furniture… with slender popsicle sticks. No, I’m not kidding.
The furniture was dollhouse scale, and we were undertaking this as players of a German board game called Packen Wir’s!, but we did it. We proved to be pretty good at manipulating furniture without touching it. We only dropped two things: a pedestal table at the very beginning, and a grand piano with two chairs stacked on it at the end.
I have a feeling that if we ever play this game again, the other players won’t let me and Jim be partners. We just have too much practice moving things together. We’re also both fond of hobbies that involve careful manipulation of small or delicate items. In my case, that’s working with beads and polymer clay. In Jim’s, it’s making arrowheads.
It’s always interesting to see how one’s skills extend into categories that, on the surface, seem completely unrelated. You can make this a writing metaphor if you want. It’s certainly true.
And, yes, I’ve been writing. This past week, I finished reviewing the manuscript of a book I wrote a while back. Jim’s currently re-reading for me, because I did a lot of word-level tinkering, and that’s absolutely the sort of thing that contributes to the creation of new, completely unforeseen typos. He also likes the story a lot, which is gratifying.
Anyhow, when I finished my manuscript review, I was very much in the mood for writing something new. I’d had an idea for a short story a week or so earlier. I’d scribbled some notes to myself, and even worked on the story while I was waiting for new tires to be put on my car.
The fact that writing is also my job hasn’t changed my liking for it at all. As of the end of last week, I had much of the story set up and a strong sense of where the final portion might go. This week, I finished it up. I’ll let it mellow for a few days, then read it out loud and see how it flows.
This is the thing… I really like writing. Of my hobby activities, it’s definitely my favorite. It doesn’t need any equipment other than a writing implement and paper. (Yes. I do use a computer, but I don’t need a computer.) In a pinch, I can even do without pen and paper. Many a story idea has been fleshed out while I’m riding my bike or doing some routine chore.
By comparison, my other hobbies require tools, materials, and enough time to make hauling these out worthwhile. Gardening is wonderful, but when it’s over a hundred degrees (as it has been much of the last week), the last thing I want to do is be outside. My roleplaying game involves making sure other people are available.
Another advantage of writing is that it doesn’t involve any complicated clean up. Even though I’m quite organized, both beadwork and clay work include allowing for time to put my materials away. Even designing adventures for my on-going role-playing adventure means hauling out reference books.
Writing doesn’t have any of that. I’d never leave my beads or clay out. Too much danger of the cats getting into them. However, a cat can sit squarely on top of whatever I’m writing without doing any damage. If I’m using my computer, a cat might get between me and the screen, or insist on sitting on my lap, but I can shove them out of the way with ease. Doing the same with beads would involve tiny sparkly things all over the floor. And clay… Even a forgiving medium like polymer clay doesn’t benefit from the inclusion of cat hair.
I can write just about anywhere – and have. One of the things I routinely pack when traveling is a notebook and pens. That notebook makes interesting browsing, since it contains material from a lot of different projects.
Yeah, I like writing. In fact, as much fun as chatting with all of you is, I believe I’ll go and dream up another story.