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The Quick and the Dirty

January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Notable News from a Year Ago, January 20, 2009: I start my third diary.

The shot that was almost my banner...

This is not my first diary.

That honor (or shame, depending on your viewpoint) goes to a Tandy computer my parents bought when I was in middle school. Middle school, for me, equals the 80s; the 80s, for computing, equals quick and dirty operating systems (QDOS). Simple or not, I loved that Tandy computer, and wrote in its simplified diary program frequently, usually at night. As I recall, it was mostly a chronicle of adolescent lust and he-said-she-said. In other words: A quick and dirty diary in more ways than one.

After marrying and buying my first house, I started a second diary: The Writer’s Will. It was pretty clever I thought: a diary written like a will with articles and codicils that would serve as an artistic excuse to add new entries, also with a double meaning to represent the toil required to become a published author. So, a How-I-Did-It memoir that came out, after the outpouring of rejection letters, sounding like In-Your-Face-I-Did-It-Anyway, but that was the idea.

The first diary died in high school when I upgraded to a Brother word processor. The Tandy’s dot matrix printer used some glossy, off-white stand-in as paper, and it was taxing on the eyes. The price for improved printer output (because the word processor didn’t include a diary program) was my quick and dirty diary.

The Writer’s Will, which I wrote for about a year while trying to find a home for my maiden novel, Nathan’s Game, was laced with so much vitriol and indignation that eventually it self-imploded. Later efforts to soften the content proved futile, and eventually The Writer’s Will went on the shelf with all the other still-born manuscripts. The self-generated negativity seemed to be a noose that I was repeatedly tying around my own neck.

This makes the current installment, and its inception on January 20, 2009, numero tres in the diary archives, or Diary 3.0. For the eagle-eyed among you, you’ll also notice that today is Inauguration Day, and a man who can be considered neither quick nor dirty has been sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. It shouldn’t be surprising then that I, like others, have been seduced into framing this defining moment into words. It is refreshing (for me, at least), that for once I am starting a diary and the result is something I hope will be neither quick, nor dirty.

Except… there is something rather peculiar about all this. If I’d known, sitting on the couch watching the historic ceremony, that the result would be the birth of my third diary, I’d have a psychic hotline instead of a blog. But for as hard as I tried afterward; to be as moved as I was by Barack Obama’s sweeping oratory to need to write something; when I sat down at my 21st century writing station to do what the writer in me was supposed to do, nothing came. Well — this came. Not something about Obama, but something about me.

Right here, right now, I needed to capture what I felt, the way I think, my beliefs, my mysteries, my failures, my successes, my fears, my hopes, The Plan — my life.

Someone else can get away with doing nothing, but me? There’s no excuse for the writer I claim to be to sit on my hunches and my hands, and do nothing.

And with that being said, hold on to your hats, and your disk drives. This promises to be a Tandy — oops, a dandy.

I start.

Next Vista: 12 Noon Today, “Reconsideration”

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Quick and the Dirty

Notable News from a Year Ago, January 20, 2009: I start my third diary.

This is not my first diary.

That honor (or shame, depending on your viewpoint) goes to a Tandy computer my parents bought when I was in middle school. Middle school, for me, equals the 80s; the 80s, for computing, equals quick and dirty operating systems (QDOS). Simple or not, I loved that Tandy computer, and wrote in its simplified diary program frequently, usually at night. As I recall, it was mostly a chronicle of adolescent lust and he-said-she-said. In other words: A quick and dirty diary in more ways than one.

After marrying and buying my first house, I started a second diary: The Writer’s Will. It was pretty clever I thought: a diary written like a will with articles and codicils that would serve as an artistic excuse to add new entries, also with a double meaning to represent the toil required to become a published author. So, a How-I-Did-It memoir that came out, after the outpouring of rejection letters, sounding like In-Your-Face-I-Did-It-Anyway, but that was the idea.

The first diary died in high school when I upgraded to a Brother word processor. The Tandy’s dot matrix printer used some glossy, off-white stand-in as paper, and it was taxing on the eyes. The price for improved printer output (because the word process didn’t include a diary program) was my quick and dirty diary.

The Writer’s Will, which I wrote for about a year while trying to find a home for my maiden novel, Nathan’s Game, was laced with so much vitriol and indignation that eventually it self-imploded. Later efforts to soften the content proved futile, and eventually The Writer’s Will went on the shelf with all the other still-born manuscripts. The self-generated negativity seemed to be a noose that I was repeatedly tying around my own neck.

This makes the current installment, and its inception on January 20, 2009, numerous tres in the diary archives, or Diary 3.0. For the eagle-eyed among you, you’ll also notice that today is Inauguration Day, and a man who can be considered neither quick or dirty has been sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. It shouldn’t be surprising then that I, like others, have been seduced into framing this defining moment into words. It is refreshing (for me, at least), that for once I am starting a diary and the result is something I hope will be neither quick, nor dirty.

Except, there is something rather peculiar about all this. If I’d known, sitting on the couch watching the historic ceremony, that the result would be the birth of my third diary, I’d have a psychic hotline instead of a blog. But for as hard as I tried afterward; to be as moved as I was by Barack Obama’s sweeping oratory to need to write something; when I sat down at my 21st century writing station to do what the writer in me was supposed to do, nothing came. Well — this came. Not something about Obama, but something about me.

Right here, right now, I needed to capture what I felt, the way I think, my beliefs, my mysteries, my failures, my successes, my fears, my hopes, The Plan — my life.

Someone else can get away with doing nothing, but me? There’s no excuse for the writer I claim to be to sit on my hands and do nothing.

I start.

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