Writing by hand

This post is #34 in a series of 50 dedicated to the art and life of writing, in support of the 50 for 50 Project to benefit WriteGirl. If you like it, or if you think it could have been improved by a better writing education for its author, please give generously. And pass it on.

You don’t need to convince people who use “journal” as a verb of the value of writing things down longhand. (Although some, you must convince of the the value of editing before taking things public.)

The Keyboard People can push back, though. “I can think faster than I can write longhand,” they say, or “I can’t read my own writing.”

Both of these things are true for me, and yet I have filled two cubic feet with chicken-scratchings on paper anyway. Because despite what I carelessly tossed off many years ago, the point of writing a journal by hand is to write a journal by hand. Period. That your journals provide a “map of you” is a kind of bonus-extra, a by-product of the true point, which is spend time quietly with yourself, being exactly where you’re at.

What can I say? You live, and hopefully, you learn. But in case it’s still not clear, I suggest you spend more time walking, and less time looking at your maps.




Moving toward vs. getting rid of

a LOT of ice cream flavors posted on the wallDuring last night’s first meeting of the Big Artist Workshop, gentle genius Chris Wells (hey! he won an Obie!) shared the most useful hack I’ve ever heard of for dealing with one’s art as a focus-challenged person:

Don’t worry about letting go of things; think instead of what you would most like to move toward.

Like most shifts in thinking, it will probably end up being profound because it is so simple. I have trouble letting go of stuff, because the decisions are too painful. So I don’t: I now turn my attention toward the one thing I am moving toward right now. Those other things? Those other ideas for projects and stories and songs and books and demands on my limited attention? We’ll talk about what they’re for later, when we understand it. For now, it’s enough to know that I can safely move toward this one thing.

The class was full of so much goodness, it fairly blew my mind.


Image by olliethebastard via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

Why I watch KING OF THE HILL every day from 5 – 6

the guys as king of the hill

Peggy Hill: (exasperated but patient) Luanne, have you ever wondered why I spend every Friday night with you?

Luanne: (tentative) Because I challenge you with my intellectual?


More King of the Hill goodness at this GeoCities King of the Hill Information Site

Image “The Guys as King of the Hill” via MZ Web Productions Photo Gallery

Colleen of the Future

honeymooners.jpgI found a cool site thanks to Stumble Upon, my new-favorite source of time suckage*. It’s called FutureMe.org, and it’s nothing more than an email form that collects words you write, to someone else, I suppose, but mainly to oneself, and sends them to that person in the future. (The default is set to one year.)

This is pretty much what journals are all about, at least to me. I knew as I wrote them that even though they provided an excellent place for brain (and heart, and psyche) dump, they were mainly a map of me. From time to time, when I’m feeling particularly brave and strong, I’ll pull out an old journal from college or my early 20’s or, who am I kidding?, my late 30’s and early 40’s and cringe and cringe and cringe…and then I’ll spot something that saves me: some glimmer of insight or truth that runs through from the pure me to the me-currently-enmired in crap to, hopefully, the future me who will finally be beyond all this petty nonsense. (Although I will not be wearing any motherfucking purple, straight up.)**

I don’t write much in a journal anymore; after a year and a half of this, it’d feel like a busman’s holiday.

Then again, I don’t need to look too far to find Colleen of the Past anymore. Just an inch or so to the right.

*Thanks, Bon…for NOTHING!!! Sigh…

**UPDATE (8/27/12): Except for my purple sweater, my purple sweater I had before that, my purple shirt, and my purple scarf. And so it goes.

Photo of monkeyed-with scene from a great Honeymooners episode via Schrom.com