Monday, October 27, 2008

Getting Organized

I daresay for many artists, for writers in particular and this one's no exception, getting organized about what to put in, what to leave out, and when and where to start is a royal pain in the ass! An ex-wife and ex-girlfriends would attest to the fact that my "filing system" is unique. I call it the "paper-stack method." They had other colorful names for it, but for whatever reason, I can't recall nay, not a one of them...Curious. I am sure my system has roots going back to the first time writers took quill to papyrus--wait, nix that, make it cuneiform stylus to clay tablet! Except then it was much more cumbersome because those tablets were big and hard--talk about stubbing your toe in the dark on one of those mothers! See, compared to that orgy of primitiveness, my elite and elegant method of simply writing and finishing one page, placing it "face up" on the ground, floor or table and thus, gently starting its own "stack," then as I finish the next page in chronological order, I place that page directly on top of the previous page--voila! Organized! I keep doing this until I run out of ideas or additional things to write about connected, even remotely, to the subject of the other resident sheets in the stack. Then a blank paper is put on top of the stack and I scribble the name I am going to give that stack of writing. It might be mundane, like "Chapter three" or more esoteric and cryptic like "thoughts on meaning of term "Barbecue," including Chinese, mathematical, and reputed non-terrestrial meanings." Then, the coup de grace is the connecting of said pages of similar ilk, utilizing some connector device. I prefer the stapler, but strong virgin paper clips are quite acceptable. A newer thing for me is the large two-inch diameter ring (no it's not some sort of sexual aid...) that opens up, then re-closes with a snap. With this gnarly gadget one only needs a hole-puncher to perforate each page in the stack in the same spot (I call it "the P-spot," for Perforation, clearly...)then loop the pages onto the ring and snap it shut. Unlike staples, this method allows for easy access to each page, if one wants to put in another page betwixt, one need not resort to yet another technological contraption (the dreaded staple-remover, cause of so many avoidable workplace lacerations, exsanguinations and blue-streak cursing)! Incidentally, the paper clips must be virgins, not due to some ageist bias, but simply that if they have been "bent out of shape" for some other nefarious use, then "re-bent" back into the rough shape of a paper clip, they are notoriously unreliable and will drop sheets as you carry your prized writing through a windy city intersection. You scream and curse to no avail as chapter seven is scattered to the four corners of the world, with you witnessing at least 2 pages getting stuck on the front grille of a speeding Toyota, and another page or three being claimed as nest insulation by the (perhaps rabid?) family of grizzled raccoons that speedily scamper instantly out of the storm drain as if they somehow knew that "paperclip" was going to blow! So, by all means, if you go with paper clips, get virgin ones--you won't be sorry!

As Columbus Day passed earlier this month without any comment or reflection by this author, I'll again quote the late Mr. Vonnegut regarding what they taught us all in American schools about Columbus and 1492.
1492. As children we were taught to memorize this year with pride and joy as the year people began living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America. Actually, people had been living full and imaginative lives on the continent of North America for hundreds of years before that. 1492 was simply the year sea pirates began to rob, cheat, and kill them.
Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

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