Oct 14, 2009

Pen to paper

by Marielle Carlisle

Two weeks ago I was researching minivans online. We were in the market for a new car, preferable a bigger one, and I saw one that intrigued me. While I was scouring the internet, my three year old and one year old raced in from the outside, clamoring for my attention and a drink of water. My three year old took a big swig from my waterglass, and as she set it back on the table it toppled over, spilling water and ice all over the keyboard of my laptop.

Suddenly I wasn't as worried about finding a minivan.

I did everything you're supposed to do when water is spilled on a laptop, but the poor sucker was fried. The PC Posse told me I'd be better off buying a new computer. Luckily I had backed up the harddrive two days before, so all our files were safe.

Alas, life moves on. I would not be detered from my daily goal of working on my story, so I grabbed a pen and paper and set to it.

It's been a while since I've handwritten so much. Probably not since college. I even got a hand cramp one morning, I'm that out of shape. And it was so SLOW. I kept thinking how much faster I would've been writing if I had my computer (sniff).

But what surprised me was that a lot of good ideas came out. Maybe because I had to slow down, take my time, use each motion to craft the words forming in my mind. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

My husband now lets me use his laptop, as long as no liquids are within five feet of it, but I'll always remember to change things up in the future. Not to rely so much on typing, and go back to the days of ink and smudges.

And we bought a car last weekend. I am now officially a MAV driver.


  1. Marielle, I can envision the whole computer episode happening in slow motion.

    I agree that writing by hand can get a different muse running...I used to love writing on unlined blue scratch paper my mom brought home from work. Somehow the color and lack of lines made ideas less confined. Thanks for the reminder to change things up. And glad you got your van.

  2. Sorry about the computer experience...no fun! Happy about your new van! that is fun!

    I've always loved just writing things out on paper. I delete too much when I get on the computer. Try writing with your nondominant hand for a few minutes. You'd be surprised at what your brain comes up with...if you can read it, that is! Ha!

  3. My stomach turned over as you fried your computer!

    I used my laptop in bed late one night and was too tired to get up and set it on my writing desk in the corner of my room. Sure enough, my pillow knocked off my glass of night time water and watered my computer. It died a sad death that night. This lap top was only a few months old because my former lap top had been drowned also. I was at an ANWA meeting, closed my computer down and set it in my computer bag and leaned it against my chair on the floor. When socializing at the end of the meeting, someone sat in my chair, and their drink tipped over and spilled in my lap top bag. I didn't know it. They probably didn't realize it either. When I pulled it out that night at home, it was totally dead.

    I now NEVER EVER, NO NEVER set any kind of liquid ANYWHERE NEAR my new lap top. I NEVER EVER EVER leave it sitting anywhere at any meeting. I am ABSOLUTELY PARANOID NOW!

    The only time I write by hand is if a story just begins to flow when I am out and about, and I have to jot it down.

    You have a GREAT attitude about what happened to you!


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