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Dipping The Toes

Metal movable type.jpg
By Willi Heidelbach, CC BY 2.5, Link

I am the proud father of a young son who, for the last two school years, has a won writing contest his grade level. Last year's piece was a retelling of the Great Locomotive Chase of the Civil War from the point of view of the engineer of the stolen train. This year's tale was of a zombie apocalypse in which I defended home and hearth with a large iron skillet. I cook with a large iron skillet and have full faith in its ability as a defensive weapon against the undead.

My son has inspired me to take up writing, a practice I pursued as a younger man with little to say and not much experience to draw from. At midlilfe, I have more to reflect on and put to paper. I have a short story completed and am outlining another. After working in spreadsheets all day, I look forward to going home and working in a word processor. (That's not entirely a joke)

My method begins with the Vim text editor, a piece of software more suited to programming than prose but one I enjoy using. Opened in a full screen Linux terminal, Vim offers a black screen and blinking cursor to work with. No buttons, no mouse, no distraction. When the story is finished, I open the document in the excellent LibreOffice Writer word processor in order to format, save as a Word document (Microsoft's .docx format has a lock on the publishing industry), and export to PDF.

Whether any of this work is published means little to me; I write because I enjoy it. If it brings in a little recognition or remuneration, all the better. When I was young, I wanted fame, fortune, interviews, etc. These days I just want to write a story I enjoy reading.


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