J. J. Brown, Wordslinger

"I Sling Words As I Go Along."


September 2018

So, I’ve rediscovered writing in long-hand…..

…..something I’d always done up until about seven years ago, when I switched entirely to writing my novels and scripts directly onto a Word or Final Draft document.  This was in large part due to a trauma that affected me in such a way that writing in long-hand felt too intimately connected to my brain.  It would take three novels and a stage script before I found my way back to using pen on lined paper again.

Imagine trying to implement corrections using a typewriter!

I think it would be fair to say that the project that drew me back to writing in long-hand was, perhaps, a little ironic.  The setting of the story is in the 1920s, decades before computers would replace the typewriter, a time when pencil or pen was also a more commonly used method to write down ideas, create poetry, stories and develop essays.  This particular story is about passion, sensuality and love between two people, a particularly intimate story that has presented many challenges.

Pen sketch; note the rather arrogant look in his eye.

And that’s how writing long-hand is to me – an act of pure intimacy between the mind and the page.  I love watching as the ink swirls across the page, forming words or shapes or quick sketches of horses.  It’s almost never planned, those words or images – I often allow myself to go into a kind of trance and allow my subconscious to go where it wills.  There’s something hypnotic about the way my pen feels in my hand, pressed against paper, as I try to keep up with the story playing out in my imagination.

Which is not always easy to do.

And which is always the challenge.

So, one of my least favorite words…..

… the English language (and its subsequent foreign equivalents) is the word ‘should’, as exhibited in the photo above.

It’s a very bossy word – I mean, look at its definition. ‘Must’, ‘shall’, and ‘ought’ are used to describe the underlining meaning of the word, so how can it not be bossy?  It’s the kind of word that tends to shut one person down and give an illusory authority to another.  This word has a tendency to make me tune out, so I can only imagine how it might sound to someone else.

Which is why, when that Particular Word is about to pass forth from my lips, I always preface my comment with, “I really hate the word ‘should’, because it sounds like my idea is the only one, but maybe you should try (fill in the blank).”

And I always cringe over That Word, because it is so bossy and know-it-all.

And who wants to come across as that?

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