This Is Not Writing

007060DD-8A37-40A8-BAEF-F011461C2787The following are random thoughts I had before starting a Free Writing exercise today:

This isn’t really writing, is it?


The activity or skill of marking coherent words on paper and composing text.

It’s not even typing, really.

Thanks to ALS, specifically spasticity in my hands (i.e. muscle tightening, causing fingers to curl), I’m reduced to hunting and pecking using just my two index fingers, wearing splints that look like this:

oval-8 (1)

(Disclaimer: Not my actual finger in photo. Dead giveaway = the fingernail. I need to keep my nails trimmed down to the quick, or else the tapping sound from the plastic keys on my laptop, or the glass of my iPhone and iPad, would drive me insane.)

Free Writing: Well, at least it is free of charge!

This morning I read a fantastic short story, Murder Me Nicely, by Lucie Britsch in The Sun Magazine. The narrator is a writer sequestered in a not-quite-off-the-grid cabin, ostensibly to get some writing done, armed “…with my book that wasn’t a book yet, merely something that wanted to be a book when it grew up.”


Anyway, soon after I read the story, I tried to start writing, but nothing immediately came to me. All I could think of was the following brilliantly funny passage of Lucie’s. The narrator, prior to going to the cabin, is looking at what I’ve inferred is the Airbnb listing on her boyfriend’s phone:

Is there a fireplace? I asked, still standing and looking at the cabin, not sure whether I wanted there to be a fireplace or not. Could I be trusted with a fire? Writers in the old days would burn their writing if they wanted to truly delete it; scrunching it up into a ball wasn’t enough.

Yes, why? he asked.

I might need to throw my laptop in it, I said.

Please don’t, he said.

He valued electronics in a way I didn’t.

⁜ One of life’s many cruel ironies:

  • Writer’s Block: Staring at a blank page, desperate for ideas, the mind goes blank.
  • Meditation: Eyes closed, desperate for respite from ideas, the mind won’t shut the fuck up.

In 2007, one of my favorite bands, R.E.M., played a 5-night run of concerts at the Olympia Theatre, in Dublin, Ireland. They’d been working in the studio on what would become their next album, Accelerate, and they decided they needed to float a trial balloon — they booked the Olympia in order to play the songs-in-progress to a live audience, as they had done with new material when they were a much younger band.

The shows were dubbed “working rehearsals” by the band, and as additional disclaimer, to drive this fact non-negotiably home, lead singer Michael Stipe started off each concert announcing via a megaphone:

This Is Not A Show!
This Is Not A Show!

So, this here blog post of mine is a bulleted list of, as I said at the outset, random thoughts in prelude to a “writing” session.


This Is Not Writing!
This Is Not Writing!


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