Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I don't know

In going back thru all the files and emails I save on acceptances and rejections, I discovered I've been busier than I thought. I missed a few in the first go around, but hopefully I have caught them all and now I can keep better track of what I write and submit. I do keep copies of everything, but I like to have them in a couple places just in case. One thing is certain, the new program will keep me from shuffling papers. I tend to forget to write things down and by the time I get around to it I forget half of what I should write down. I love my new program, although it is a bit difficult to handle right now. I'll get better and I feel much more organized and in charge of my writing and submissions.

Submission. That word conjures so many different thoughts, most of which should like in my memory and not be expounded on here. Like a certain private joke with someone who is gone from my life. If he ever wandered over here and read this he would know exactly what I mean and might even smile. You just never know. I keep hearing about how the world is getting smaller and smaller and the degrees of separation are shrinking. Personally, I'd rather have no degrees of separation in this instance, but what I want usually has very little context in reality. C'est la vie.

My mind flits and flutters from thought to thought and there have been few people who can keep up when I'm thought hopping. One of those is [info]elementalmuse. We share many attributes. Don't worry. They're mostly good ones. There are many parallels in our lives and I see myself ten years ago in her, and not just because she is nearly 10 years younger than I am. See us together and you'd think we were either sisters or very good friends. In many ways we are both.

Back to thought hopping.

For some reason, writing and how much space we take up popped into my mind.

I was watching Hearts In Atlantis and the difference in how we write and how much space we take up was right there while Brautigan was writing on the inside of a matchbook cover. Have you ever noticed how much space you take up as a child? When you first learn to write, the letters are sprawling circles and lines written with pencils that small hands clutch with a death grip, just trying to hang on. The awkwardness of untrained muscles and ligaments and tendons forced into an unfamiliar exercise that becomes easier with time, the lopsided and disjointed circles and loops coming closer together, merging, taking on a reality that conforms to the letters banding the top of the blackboard. As we get older and learn more, the pencils are smaller and the letters corresponding smaller to fit the smaller lines on the paper. When I was a child, we progressed to cursive and then to ink pots fitted into the strange and incomprehensible metal banded holes in our desks and the first scritch-scratching ink-bloody letters from a metal nib on a tooth-marked and gouged wooden pen. No, it wasn't in the 19th century, but just a few decades ago back in the 1960s. I'm not as old as you think and I'm older than you know, but that's another topic for another time.

Then the advent of ink pens, usually blue capped Bic pens (black for the rebels), and theses and themes and papers written in ink to be handed in. The letters are smaller, more precise (for most of us), and they acquire character, a reflection of who we are. Just as the big circles and lines made with tree trunk pencils on gray-brown big lined paper when we were children, we took up more space as children -- not physically but really. We were short (most of us anyway) and grownups towered over us, but we were important, special. Our shouting and dreams and wishes and emotions took up all the space and air around us...just like the letters we fashioned.

As we grew taller and older, our letters were smaller, conforming to the world around us as we conformed to the rules and expectations of parents, relatives, friends, and society. Some of us kept writing in big bold letters, topping Is with hearts or smiling faces, precisely placing cross bars on Ts, drawing big loops to take up more space. Those were the school rulers, the elite, the beautiful and athletic, the rulers of our youth. Occasionally, some wallflower made their letters big and bold, a bluff, a wish, a desire to be more. The rest of us wrote smaller, some with precision and style and others almost to disappear into the lines and flesh of the page. Left handed writers' words slanted oddly, the letters thin and cramped like their fingers as they fought to train their muscles to perform right-handed tasks with left-handed minds.

Then came typing. Pica fonts at first to better able to see our mistakes and then elite fonts for a precise small look, taking up less space, letting the words speak for themselves. But the size of our letters and the space we take up is already indelibly etched in the curves and whorls of our brains. Our personalities, maturity, dreams, wishes, and thoughts revealed in signatures and handwritten secrets laid bare to the knowing eye. Even our moods can be traced thru our writing. Nothing is secret if you have the key.

But time marches on and the space we take up changes, expanding and contracting with changes in our personalities, our dreams, our lives, until in old age we are back to gripping larger pens and pencils, some with rubbery centers to accommodate arthritic fingers unwilling to obey mental impulses, our letters growing in size as we diminish in height and importance. At last, we are back to big circles and lines that may or may not connect as flailing arms and wide based gaits help us balance and move thru life taking up more space for our shrinking forms. Life comes full circle. The little flat chested pot bellied forms of childhood revert to sagging breasted flat chested pot bellied forms of old age. We end where we began: uncoordinated entities taking up much more space than our size seems to need.

Like I said, thought hopping.

I'll shut up now.

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