It’s after 3 a.m., and I’m still awake. Maybe because of the surplus of sleep, maybe because I’ve drunk half of a three-liter bottle of Stars & Stripes diet cola, or a combination of the two. But here I am, in front of a keyboard, instead of nestled all snug in my bed.
Not much newsworthy has occurred since I posted before. This has been a false cause for hope in the past, but this evening I actually made an attempt at writing. I made a sincere effort to minimize the clutter on my work table in the living room (not 100% successfully yet; watch this space for pictures once that happens!), and I cleared enough of the surface that I can put the laptop and my beloved (and quite underused, lately) Royal Royalite manual typewriter side by side.
The typewriter indicted me by how many stuck keys it had. After a little more digging, I found the plastic squeeze bottle of Liquid Wrench and applied it where needed. After typing a page or two of random lines here and there, and staining the typing paper with excess Liquid Wrench, I put in a blank page, rolled it to about one third of the way down the page, and hit the shift lock.
I remember sitting in the chair and looking at that for quite some time. For the page to sit there in the carriage for days, with only that heading, would be mocking. I felt like I had committed myself to something, but when I typed those words, I didn’t have the slightest idea what fiction project I had in mind. Did I type that just so I could hear the sound of the keys striking paper once again?
Turning away from the typewriter, I reached over to one of my milk-crate bookcases. I pulled out my navy blue 1983 New Yorker diary, in which I’ve jotted ideas for various projects, written plot outlines, named characters and written little dossiers about their background and character traits (siblings, jobs, favorite flavor of ice cream, alma mater), and even sunrise and sunset times for the specific day on which a story takes place (courtesy of the U.S. Naval Observatory’s site). I looked over some notes I wrote when I first bought the volume (I bought it online last year–it has not languished in my possession since 1983), and then scooted back over to the almost empty page in the roller and ended up producing six paragraphs. The writing process was not easy, and it wasn’t because I had to gear down my typing speed to accommodate this aging machine.
And yet I almost did not share this bit of news with my “14 readers out there in the darkness,” because I’ve often jinxed myself by my own hubris. Look! I produced just over one page–the dry spell is over, I’ll have the 21st-century equivalent of Ulysses stacked up on this desk in three short months.
I reread my last entry, where I described my asinine neighbor and his barrage of firecrackers and bottle rockets. (The police never did come.) Rereading the entry reminded me of one that I posted when LiveJournal hosted this blog. In this entry, which you can find here,
I described how I miraculously escaped injury when someone dropped a cherry bomb or an M-80 into a wine bottle. I was standing about an inch away, wearing sandals, and to this day don’t know how I escaped injury.
I’m not sure if my email will appear in Notebook Stories
or not. As I wrote before, two of the planners that I brought home from the Really, Really Free Market last week were from Greek organizations. I am getting a genuine kick out of reading the information printed in these books before the calendar pages begin, about the histories of the organizations, the codes of conduct, the mythical zero-tolerance policies on substance abuse and hazing (Phi Delta Theta calls it “Don’t Tarnish the Badge”), and how to flourish as a member.
One of the people in my small group in Philosophy 101 was a Sigma Chi pledge, and the reason I remember that was because he constantly carried his copy of The Norman Shield with him, and he hung onto it like it was some kind of Bible. I was a devout Gamma Delta Iota (goddamn independent), and could barely afford textbooks and drinking, let alone the dues that many of the fraternities charged on a quarterly basis.
The most amusing thing I found in the Phi Delta Theta planner was that their national headquarters is in Oxford, Ohio. This does not amuse me because I went to Ohio University, and Miami is the closest thing we have to a rival. (And it never reached the insane levels that the Ohio State-University of Michigan rivalry have achieved.) I chuckled because of an event last year at Miami University, when the behavior of Pi Phi sorority members and their dates at a party (read about it here
) led to a one-year suspension.
The only significant way Susie and I are going to mark the Independence Day holiday (and it is right now the Glorious Fourth) is with a trip to the Short North to see the Doo Dah Parade
, which steps off at 1 p.m. A parade that marks the birth of the United States and doesn’t take itself seriously… priceless.
|Susie (at far right) at last year’s Doo Dah Parade, part of a vain attempt for a mass jump-roping.