Me and Margaret A.


A writer’s tools are personal. Some, like me, start with a pen on lined paper. I cannot explain why I have to use such archaic tools, but there’s some connection between my imagination and barely legible words on the lines in a notebook. I write early in the morning when there’s fresh coffee, instrumental music, and few interruptions. I’ve used this approach for more years than I’m willing to reveal. But you just never know when something shifts, and recently I’ve made a useful adjustment.

It’s no secret that I am a fan of Margaret Atwood, and have been since years ago, many years ago, when I went to a writing conference in Alabama, and she was there. No, I didn’t meet her, just saw the back of her as she walked out of the room. We had briefly breathed the same air, and her books continue to fascinate. This week I’m reading Burning Questions, Essays and Occasional Pieces. In “Five Visits to the Word-Hoard” she talks about her writing process: write on the right-hand page of a notebook, leave prompts or reminders on the left. Well, that’s useful. I have long struggled with the floppy left-hand page of a notebook, clumsy as I am. So, now I can say, sly fox, that I write like Margaret Atwood. Have a nice weekend.


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