I’m not big into writing “tricks.” Mainly, you just do the work. But sometimes when I’m stuck I shut down the electronics, get out one of my manual typewriters, and bang away. No filter, no brakes, no backspace insta-edits. Just cover the paper with words. Long stretches of worthless clatter, sure, but invariably the dross is strung with rich veins and salted with nuggets. And perhaps most importantly: One of the things I lose touch with is how back in the dumb hungry days of late nights, Lipton tea, and real bad poetry, it was the rhythm of the writing I loved. Just turning myself over to the words and the flow and the clackety-clack. I am the most flat-footed arrhythmic clod ever, but when that old typewriter gets to rumbling and the words get to tumbling, the mind follows, unfettered by anything but the staccato rat-a-tat of one word after another. Best I can describe it is suddenly I feel like a breakdancing ballerina, and before I know it the pages are full and then, well then I’ve got something to work with. Something for the fuss and polish.
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