Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tools of the Writer's Trade

Like many writers, I am particular about the tools of my trade. Not just about commas and semi-colons, but about the actual implements with which I do my writing. While I write my academic philosophy and children's literature articles on the computer, I write all my children's books by hand.

I always use a clipboard, the very same clipboard I've used since my college days. For some decades now it has been a clipboard without a clip, the clip having long ago fallen off and disappeared.

I always use the same kind of paper: pads of white paper, narrow ruled, no margins.

I always use the same kind of pens: Pilot Razor Point fine-tipped black marker pens.

A couple of years ago I had a scare, when I went to Office Max and then on to Office Depot and found that they no longer carried my favorite brand of pens. I was in despair until my son Gregory went on the Internet, Googled "Pilot Razor Point fine-tipped black marker pens" and found that I could order them from amazon. com. Whew! Then when Staples moved in to the new 29th Street Mall in Boulder, I also discovered to my relief that I could get them there.

But then last week, when I stopped by Staples to get my pens and a new 12-pack of pads of paper, they didn't have narrow-ruled paper. I seemed to remember that they had been out of it the last time I was there as well, and that I hadn't found it at Office Max the other day, either. With my new Gregory-inspired resourcefulness, I went to the Staples website, found 12-packs of white, narrow-ruled pads, no margins, and placed my order.

The package came today. I opened it nervously. What if - what if I had gotten CANARY-colored paper by mistake? Or that horrible light-green, eye-ease, paper that so often ruins what would have been wonderful narrow-ruled little notebooks? Or what if - no, I couldn't possibly have gotten COLLEGE-ruled paper, could I?

Enough suspense! The new paper is indeed narrow-ruled. It is indeed white. There are no offensive margins. But - I hate to say it, but the blue lines on the page are, well, they are a little bit TOO dark. I hadn't realized until ten minutes ago that I need to write on white, narrow-ruled paper, no margins, with LIGHT blue lines.

I agonized for a few moments about what to do. But then I decided to accept the new pads with their slightly darker lines. I am going to exhibit my writing versatility. Finicky is one thing. Fanatic is another.


  1. Oh, I had to laugh! I also do much of my fiction writing by hand (it feels closer to my heart), and my desk drawer has a boatload of Zebra G-301 refillable stainless steel pens (liquid ink feels like fountain pens)I bought a couple of years ago in case they ever stop making them...

  2. Tell us how it goes! SW