… I just finished the first draft of a new book. Ha! You didn’t even know I was writing one, did you? It’s something of a travel memoir of my old hitchhiking days, mixing prose with poetry in the tradition of Basho’s haibun books. It’s called Dosojin & Tonic or Thanks for the Ride, Clyde or The Rise and Fall of Miscellaneous Jones & the Vagabond Angels: Neo-Haibun from the Travel-worn Satchel of a Weather-exposed Skeleton with the 12 Bars Blues.
I wrote the whole thing on the newest typing horse in my stable, a mid-morning-sky-blue Royal Mariner that came from a local antique shop. It gallops smoother than my Remington Streamliner and faster than my Underwood. Like other great machines, it also kills fascists. I live in a town that has not one, but two stores that stock typewriter ribbon.
I’ve made several false starts with this book, each sputtering out after a few pages. The problem was using the wrong tool for the job. I just can’t write on a computer. It’s too easy to open the file of a different project every time the one I’m working on seems to not be flowing. Pretty soon, I’ve got windows open for several poems, a play, an essay and the book. Focus is lost and I’m no longer writing anything. So I check e-mail and Facebook, play chess and think about posting something to my website.
With a manual typewriter, there’s no escaping the page in front of you. It will wait, patiently and silently, forever. I stare back for awhile, and then begin typing again.
This morning, I wrote the final words. Now it’s time for breakfast, another cup of coffee, and then, to begin the first of many revisions.
Just thought you might like to know.