Fear the Page

Fear the Page

I haven’t written anything in almost a month. Not one word of a story, novel or blog post. I’m not afraid of the blank page. We’re just not really speaking.

I had a memoir/creative non-fiction piece published in the excellent Specter Literary Magazine last week. (Find it here: http://www.spectermagazine.com/lit/prose/james-patrick) A story that means quite a bit to me, that took me a long time to craft and mold into the story it is today. I’m very proud of that story. Still this relative success has not inspired me to tackle any of the projects in my head. (more…)

Typewriter Experiment #2: The bugger is that I8m out of coffee.

Typewriter Experiment #2: The bugger is that I8m out of coffee.

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The bugger is that I’m out of coffee. Losing apostrophes and adding spaces. My first attempt at a sentence haunts me on the back side of this paper. This physical dead tree in my typewriter. The sentence draws nearer every time I slide the platter back to its starting point on the far left side. “Jay Patrick is trying to type on a typewriter.” (more…)

Typewriter Experiment #1: Getting to Know You

Typewriter Experiment #1: Getting to Know You

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As my first experiment in typing on a typewriter I just wanted to get used to the keyboard and do a little bit of key pounding. I must admit this feels much like heavy lifting compared to typing on a computer. My hand has already begun to cramp from using long lost muscles that I perhaps never had. Another thing is remembering to hit a capital letter at the beginning of each sentence. Thanks auto-type. I couldn’t even remember to capitalize the first letter in a sentence about capitalizing the first letter. Also did everyone type with three fingers or was every pinky and ring finger so beefy that fatigue and/or strength never factored in typing a single letter? I’m picturing legions of secretaries and housewives with Hulk Hogan forearms because as we know from Mad Men no male ever typed a damn thing in his life. (more…)

My Olivetti and Me (The Great Typewriter Experiment)

My Olivetti and Me (The Great Typewriter Experiment)

A few weeks ago I bought a typewriter on eBay. I’ve been curious about the relationship between creativity and the tools with which we document that creativity. How would we change our thought process when composing in a journal versus typing on a computer or typing on a manual typewriter? Writers are superstitious beasts — not unlike professional athletes. So many unseen factors contribute to the ability to create and to perform. As much as anything that influences a writer’s ability to create, external sensory input remains the drug of choice. Ask any writer and they’ll likely have a list of musical artists or genres that encourages creativity. Writers write to music that inspires them, to help create mood and tone in their writing. I wish every book came with the soundtrack that inspired its creation. There’s perhaps no better way to get in the mind of a writer than to listen to the music that spurs them to create. Most often, I write to jazz — Art Blakey, Lee Morgan, Sonny Rollins are three of my go-to artists — or some melodic post-rock like Eluvium, Balmorhea or Signal Hill. (more…)