Silliness of the Writerly Sort ~ Habits of the Writing Soul
So, in the past few days of blog-perusal, I ran across a funny post by the Sneaky Ninja Writer, having to do with traits of a writer. And then, over at Karen Hancock's blog, I saw another list of habits, not necessarily writing habits, but interesting habits of a writer. This made me wonder, again, at how seriously unstable unique writers tend to be.
And this got me wondering about my own quirky habits. I have a book somewhere (in a box in the attic, I think, since most of my library is up there so as to give the impression to any potential buyer that our house is spacious and inviting and not crammed floor-to-ceiling with books. Two shelves crept back from the attic, to our Realtor's dismay, but we really cannot live without our books), which is sprinkled with quirks of famous authors. Some wrote in bed, or standing up, or with a silver bullet between her teeth (ok, I made that last one up ... maybe).
Do I write in only one particular location, or with certain music, or in a certain color ink? Do I have an oral fixation? Do I even believe in oral fixations? (Yes, by the way, because I have children. A few things I have pulled from my children's mouths lately: paper clips, pencil shavings, snow off someone's boots, a dead fly, etc.) What are my strange obsessions? What are yours?
Ok, I'll go first. I can't write with any background noise or music whatsoever. Not soft elevator music, not tunes in the genre of my work (whatever that would be), and certainly not coffee shop jazz. Silence. Having kids around causes problems, for rather obvious reasons.
I also will use only one kind of pen. Ink color doesn't matter, but I always use a Pilot G-2 gel ink pen. Nice that my taste here isn't extravagant.
I snickered at Karen's oral fixation. Of course I don't have that problem. Chewing on my fingers. Repulsive. But, ahem, I do tend to have very dry skin in the winter, and the skin on my lips peels like mad (lipstick/gloss makes this worse). So I have the very bad habit of picking at the peelings while I work. I often go too far, because I'm paying attention to the screen (duh), so I tend to have a napkin dotted with lip blood beside the computer. I'll bet you're wishing I'd kept that last detail to myself.
So? Tell all, and if you don't write (or even if you do) you might share your reading quirks instead. Example: I like books I can slip in the side pocket of the van door. I despise, no, abhor sitting, bored, at the gas station while my husband fills the tank. I don't know why, but he always feels compelled to check the oil, fiddle with the tires, snap the wiper blades, etc. all while I wait in the van with the children and no heat. In February! When I have a book, the time is well used. When I don't, I'll reach for my trusty Pilot G-2 (I keep three in my purse) and huff on my hands until they're warm enough to grip, except I'll realize I left my notebook at home, and my husband has neurotically, or rather tidily also insisted on collecting all the stray wrappers, receipts and slips of paper while we wait in the cold because heaven forbid we bypass an opportunity to empty the car of any and every little thing we could possible use to WRITE ON, and after searching for even the corner of an envelope that escaped his trashscapade and finding only one rock-hard wadded tissue in which something truly nasty is growing, I will, after tossing that on his seat, end up glaring out the window, and wishing, again, that the book I'd been reading was slim enough to fit in the side pocket of the van. Incidentally, (see, I knew I'd get back to this tour somehow!)
The Shadow and Night does not fit in the side pocket of the van.