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Roundabout inspiration

The rain was pounding as if it were angry at everything.I moved my typewriter to a table in the living room, a warmer place than where I usually write. It was beside the telephone but I didn't worry about interruptions from that source since the thing wouldn't work at all in a storm.

My way of writing is to hope that an idea will just come, but more often is does not, and it seems that ideas you have to dig for are never so good as spontaneous ones. First, it I can capture a subject, I hammer out a rough draft -- and it ism rough. I go over it, scratch out, add to, change words, attempt to smooth. Then I do my second draft, and it needs lots of improvement too. the third turns out better and if it gets enough ironing I may be ready for the final copy, but not always.

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With this story I had a bad time. I comforted myself, with crackers and fruit juice, by looking out the window and thinking how green the pastures, how great the wildflowers were going to be, how dramatically the big waterfall, back in the hills, would be spilling. I kept at work as best I could but in spite of no telephone, no visitors, there were interruptions. The enormous afghan pup Macho and his friend Oso, a small fluffy white dog, are thieves. I couldn't turn my back as they'd swipe pencil and papers, eraser, anything. And Macho's extra long tail is always a hazard.One swish of it can clear a table completely. They wanted me to entertain them. I kept putting them outside where they could play on the sheltered porch, but they wouldn't have that. They made so much racket while demanding to be inside that I couldn't concentrate, so in they came. I found all their puppy toys but toys were a bore. Macho and Oso wanted the shoes and socks I was wearing, attempted to remove them. Dogs should not be so spoiled.

I rolled up a newspaper to use as a weapon and Macho grabbed it. Happily he and Oso found employment, making confetti, and I was able to get back to work. My thoughts wandered a bit as I reflected on the fact that if you are writer everyone you meet tells you how much he would like to write. An actor friend tells me that people he meets always want to act, and if you are a musician everyone wants to get into music or be an artist and paint pictures. I decided that my books had been easier to do than this one brief story. I was getting mad at myself.

I accomplished a couple of drafts, read and reread, knew that something was wrong, couldn't find what it was. I had composed four pages, typed, double spaced, told a story that could have been written in two paragraphs. It was about a simple adventure, exciting to us: down the hill a torrent had demolished part of the road, made a deep wide chasm filled with furious water; there was no way to get around it. Everyone living on this side was isolated. The chasm was too wide to be bridged by planks but after the waters subsided enough we managed a plank foot bridge downstream and then we were able to get to town for supplies. All that we then needed were friends with pickups to meet us on the other side and of course they were there. In my attempt to write the story I had tried to make a point about how this disaster had brought us all closer together, but that was too trite. Anyway it wasn't a disaster, and we had a good time gathering by our river on rainless days because ordinarily this is a semi-arid land and to see and hear a wild flow of water is a delight. I was not overjoyed when at last the road was repaired.Though we don't have much traffic by here I liked having none at all.

I pondered some more over what I had written, tore it up, wrote this instead.


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