I have been asked a few times if I write longhand or on the computer. I have heard myself say that I do shorter pieces longhand and that I compose on the computer – I don’t know, I think I just make something up. But here is the truth. The real work is done away from the keyboard, off the computer – when I take a hardcopy (a print out) and sit down with it, when I hang my head over it, when I go one-on-one with the words. It is then that I can best manipulate them. With my pencil I prod and poke. I carve at the flesh of the words. I separate them, insert and graft new life. I can see their possibility as they lie naked and real on the page before me. I can hammer and chisel them on toward what they will become.
More than once, at the office, following an hour or two meeting, the tussle ended, I have looked at the cluttered whiteboard hanging on the wall and thought it to be a true art object. A thing of beauty like a woodshop covered in sawdust. The machines coated, glue applied, clamps tensioned. Such things are beautiful because of the hope they hold. The hope for what is possible. For what might be.
I think that of all that I produce as a writer, these edited, carved, sliced up drafts, ready for rekeying into the computer, are what I am most proud of. They are objects of beauty. Evidence that I am doing the work. The vessels holding my creative hope.