Writing Exercise: The Rules

[From my “writer’s journal” for grad school – Tabz]

I’m not a fan of rules. I’ve found that to be true when I read how to books. My back goes up when they tell me “you must”. I’m not entirely sure why this is true. Maybe it’s a rebellious nature, curled out of nothing. I was usually a rule-keeper when I was growing up. I kept rules, I whistle-blew on folks who didn’t keep rules and I was very happy about it. But not anymore.

For example, I’m fairly sure the good folks at Wilkes want me to keep an actual notebook. Something that feels like paper and tangible. Not, the hard cold light of a virtual document in my laptop. Truth is though — my laptop IS my notebook. It’s an old friend that follows me everywhere. I’m rarely without it. I’ve just realized I hate this font.

Now, font change. Good. This one fits better.

Anyways, so my observance is that I hate rules. I hate the idea that I “must” do something in order to be a great writer. Perhaps that’s why I fail at Grammar and sometimes at spelling. I don’t want the rules. I spent the first 20 years of my life learning them – it’s time to break them. Or so my subconscious thinks.

I had a professor in undergrad who would always say, “learn the rules — then you can break them.” Of course, for the longest time I thought that meant “know them”. I knew the rule of thirds in photography (that framing subjects off to the left or right of a photo made it more beautiful). But what I didn’t realize is my professor never said “know”. He said “learn”. So.. here I am to learn. Taking that student position again when I read my books. Being the thirsty well trying to soak up information. Once I’ve “learned” then I can break. I think my psyche can handle that.

But I’m still not keeping an actual journal.

My laptop was a huge purchase for me. I bought it with a bonus from my first full-time job. I felt grown up and scared all at the same time. You drop enough cash on a Mac and you’ll understand. Yet, the Tardis (as my laptop is named) has been a constant companion. I’ve written stories, scripts, letters, missives and more on here. But more than that my laptop stores my life. Photos, emails, graphics I’ve saved, MP3s, scraps of documents and PDFs that spell out the past three years. And believe me, that’s a lot of junk.

I don’t just write — I live on this laptop. It’s the first thing I touch when I wake up (unless of course I’m touching my cats to move them away from my face) and it’s usually the last thing I touch before bed. My laptop sings me to sleep and is there in the small hours of the night. It’s my confident friend, it’s my lifeline to far away places, and a gentle friend itself. It entertains and informs, guards and protects, connects and releases.

Of course, I must name my things because they are more than things. My laptop, my iPod, my camera, My phone… all of them have carried names of places that live in the imagination. The Tardis, Doctor Who’s time and space device is known for being bigger on the inside than it is on the outside — so is my laptop. It’s such a thin black thing, it can deceive you into thinking little of it. Yet, you open it and instantly you can be talking to my friend Emma — in England. Or my friend Elle in Singapore. You can see photos of me in Las Vegas or send a PowerPoint I designed to Australia.

There’s nothing I can’t do with this laptop. For the past two years it’s been the only thing I needed to work. Every morning I’d roll over, pick up my laptop and start my job as a Social Media Expert at a PR firm.

When the Tardis was finally sick and in need of repairs it was hard to let it go. I dropped it in the hands of a man who looked too young to have my baby. Like an anxious parent I waited and called to check on it.

“Hello, is my laptop ready?” I would say.
“What’s your number ma’am?” The chipper voice would say on the other end of the line. How dare she be so chipper? Doesn’t she know my baby is sick?

After giving my number they’d say I’d have to wait. After all they said it might take a week. And so I waited. It was like Christmas morning to have the Tardis back.

I had a replacement computer while he was gone, but it wasn’t home. It was like sleeping in a Motel Six and dreaming of home. But once the Tardis returned – life was better.

So, why am I not going to write in a normal notebook? I’m stubborn and horribly in love with this laptop.

Now, I’m heading to bed.

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