A Path to Inspired Writing


An imitation of Benchleyís essay How I Create.


Over the years, scribes have interviewed humorists such as Mark Twain, Will Rogers and Mort Sahl. But so far, Iíve missed the bell.

To be prepared, Iíve collected notes about how I write--in case a journalist raps on my door knocker.




For my first draft, I use a lined yellow pad, a clipboard, and a gel pen.Writing by hand permits your emotions to flow directly from your heart, down your arm, and onto the paper.

††††††††††† A cat makes a helpful prop while you are writing.My feline puts her paw on my right hand as I write.

††††††††††† When the piece is finished, I lay the writing pad on the floor for my cat to stroll across. Her muddy footprints might explain my transitional jumps and spotty logic.




How do I come up with ideas? How much comes from inspiration and how much from black coffee?

††††††††††† In the morning after I get dressed, I gaze at my dining room table covered with corn flakes, notebooks and newspapers.

††††††††††† I wear my writing outfit: a zippered hoodie, slacks and striped toe socks. I sit in my writing chair. After hours and hours waiting for a topic or lead, I ask for help from above.Believe me, at some point during the day, if I stay in the chair long enough, my eyes begin to sparkle and my pen moves. Words flow.

††††††††††† At first it might be just my name and address, but then I feel a rumble inside and the story begins to rock.




††††††††††† Long ago I realized it would take more brainpower than I possess to write political commentary. Still my hunches simmer under the surface about the gumming up of Congress. Just between you and me, Iím nicknaming the Democratic and Republican parties: ďThe Grid PartyĒ and ďThe Lock Party.Ē

But Iíve learned not to fire off potshots at politicians.

When I took Hunter Safety, the instructor notified me that I couldnít use the sight on the rifle because Iím left-eye-dominant and right handed. As I put the rifle butt on my shoulder with my finger on the trigger, and lined up my left eye on the sight, my neck twisted sideways. I shot cockeyed.

What does that have to do with taking verbal potshots at politicians?Just trust me, it does.


††††††††††† In the end, Iíve discovered through fits and starts itís wiser for me to write about less incendiary topics such as hurling, yoga dating, or geezer marriages.

Writing a good piece must come from deep in my emotions, from some ruckus inside me clamoring to get out.

††††††††††† If you have no surge of feelings within yourself, you can drink a few cold beers, go sit in your writing chair, with your gel pen aimed at your writing pad.

††††††††††† If after hours and hours your pen still hasnít moved, and your butt is squawking, pray for a kick-start from heaven.