Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Writing Tools and Addictions

My daughter found a pen recently while cleaning our house. It feels just right in my hand. It even has a flashlight on it.

Oh my. I am in love.

But since my daughter voluntarily cleaned the house and she found it in the process, I agreed to let her keep it. (See, she adores it, too.)

The following picture isn't it the same (I couldn't find it online); this one is a space pen. Hmmm ... I like it.

Anyway, this whole pen business brought me back to my addiction to pen and paper, and the below thought stream I wrote a couple of years back about this lust of mine.

Now I am curious about you, my reader. I want to know something. Carry on to find the question at the end ...

I have finally figured something out after all these years and I’m ready to admit to the truth. My name is Linda and I am a paper addict.

I’ve had this obsession since I was about seven years old (actually, it was probably before then) and my parents used to take me to Standard Brands for household paints – you know the kind – to paint walls with.

Only Standard Brands had a separate section with fancy papers – big pads, small pads, charcoal paper, watercolor paper, and journal books – and pens with large tips, small tips, and… oh, those calligraphy tips… that I salivated over.

I kept myself occupied, trying out each pen on the notepad samplers hanging near every pen cubby, while my parents shopped for eggshell white or off-white to paint the living room walls with.

Every time I went to this store, I interrupted my Mom’s color decisions by begging, “Please, please, can I have this paper and this pen?”

Then after giving in to my pleading, she would march me outside into the gray skies of Seattle where I would open my new pad of paper, drawing strange faces that I found hiding in the trees or amidst the wrinkles in shirt fabric.

I would then soon after write down every thought of every painful experience that I saw in my early life, making up poems about how I buried my heart in my backyard or stories about pencils that I watched come to life as I sat in my classroom.

Later, I graduated to high school art class. There I earned a spot in the glass-walled room where I could pick any photograph that I wanted to paint and create it the way that felt right to me – and do it all, not on canvas, but on paper.

My art went on display at a local mall and my parents longed to have me carry on by becoming a professional artist, but my heart had already told me years earlier to take a different route. It was back when I was about eight years old, I was in a school play in which I played a horse or some animal that I don’t even remember.

What I didn’t get at the time was that it wasn’t the acting, but the holding of that script in my hands that fed my yearning. How could I not have understood that at the time?

Today as I was driving up the 14 Freeway with the beat of techno drums vibrating my car, I realized with a panic, that I had left the house without any paper. What would I do to occupy myself for the next hour while my daughter took her horseback riding lesson? I needed something to scribble on.

I started feeling shaky at the prospect of not having any paper to write my thoughts on.

Don’t I have anything in this car that I can write on?

My daughter usually has her journals strewn about like crumb trails through the forest. I was once as careless with my journals, but have finally learned after all these years to keep them confined to five or six different shelves at various corners of my house.

But no, I had just cleaned my car and there was nothing… no papers, no journals, nothing.


The directions to the horse ranch where we were headed. Yes, that’s it. It has about one and a half pages to scribble notes on. I can write really tiny, I convinced myself.

This banter with myself helped me to realize why that box of papers sitting by my computer is still sitting there. It’s paper.

All my life I have longed for more paper. Paper to read, paper to draw on, paper to write on, and now it was being given to me without my asking. It was coming to me free of charge in my mail box.

Oh, lucky me! To be given paper without asking. And what’s more, this paper was already covered with words.

And what’s more than that, I could cut out each word from this assortment of paper samples and create my own collage of feelings put together by the thoughts of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other earthlings like me.

What an amazing art piece I could make, all from this pile of paper referred to as “junk” mail. To think, I have always only considered it my job to tear this paper up and throw it into the recycling bin.

So next time I long for a place to scrawl down my thoughts as I drive off into an adventure with children in tow, I can simply pull off onto the side of the road and find free paper to jot my thoughts onto… you know those free local newspapers or hotel guides that you can find at any Denny’s Restaurant along I-5.

And the next time, I think to curse the businesses who send me piles of paper day after day after day as wasteful, I will thank them for giving me what I have longed for all my life. Paper – a place to put my thoughts.

So now tell me. As writers, what addictions do you have?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Writing Prompt

Looking for some writing inspiration?

Try writing down random lines from your day such as sentences you hear other people say or thoughts that go through your own head. At the end of the day, put them all together and arrange them into another order, any order that feels right.

Below is an example of one I wrote. Poetic masterpiece? No. Fun with words? Yes! I hope you will share yours now. :-)

little tricky
gardeners stole plastic bags filled
with donations
and had to spend seventy-five dollars
for a new cable wire
“Did you miss me?” he asked, hanging
from that dangling
rope ladder. His four words
computed into about sixty
on page 70, was a closed
the wall laying against
stacks of folding

Sunday, August 7, 2011

How to Make Handmade Books

So I have been a bit obsessed with learning how to make handmade books lately. Although I'm still in search of a good in-depth class, I have been teaching myself using a variety of how-to books and watching YouTube videos. Here are photos of one of my first mini-books:

So if you like what you see, stayed tuned for more samples and directions on how to make your own.

Short Stories and Poetry

Be sure to catch our August issue, online now. Also, please be sure to "like" us on Facebook, too.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Little Mouse Tells You

It’s hard to believe our one year anniversary is approaching. When I had the idea to start an online magazine, it was all in the spirit of fun, learning, and a desire to be an inspiration to my children. I can definitely say it has fulfilled all of those three desires – and more. My writers have made me laugh out loud, feel pain, and even impressed me. 

Once in a while, I take a break from weeding through the myriad of submissions to brush up on my web design skills (yes, I still have a lot to learn). The site is ever-evolving, so be sure to watch it grow. 

It is my desire to one day pay my writers (and my editor, amazing as she is!!), if not by money, than through the gift of hard copy literary magazines or chapbooks. I am busy teaching myself the art of book binding along with how to use InDesign, to one day fulfill this intention. In the meantime, I am experimenting with alternative means of bringing in money to help keep the site running, this blog being one way and selling my handmade books, possibly being another. 

Please understand that while I maintain the site, reminders pop up that I, too, am a writer and I mustn’t put my own writing on the backburner. So, if you have sent in a submission and are thinking that maybe it was consumed by a black hole because you haven’t received a personal response, please be patient (although I do make a mistake now and then). 

Along with reading through the submissions and maintaining web updates, I’m juggling … my own writing, carting my kids all over town, assisting my daughter in running her business, playing chef and maid, educating myself, maintaining my other blog (which I haven’t posted on in months - **sob**), and well, I could go on, but you get the picture. 

Anyway, thanks for reading and write on…