Tuesday, December 17, 2013

One Writer's Gift Guide

With Christmas a week away I thought I would make a gift giving list for all the writers in your life.
.First on my list of great gifts for writer is an Oberon Designs journal cover.   Writers are notorious for  always having a note book on their person.  My Moleskine fits snugly in the cover and the leather has become softer with use. Oberon has wonderful things for non-writers, too. Hand tooled tablet, e-reader covers and leather accessories suitable for men and women are available in a variety of colors.
Consider giving your favorite writer a pair of fingerless gloves to keep the hands and wrist warm while leaving the fingers free to type.  Styles range from wooly Bob Cratchit's to lacey elegance. Fingerless gloves are also great for smart phone and tablet users.  These from Three Bird Nest split the difference with lace and warmth.

Most writers have shelves of grammar books and guides but Writer's Market is fresh every year. Pick up the writer on your list of the 2014 Writer's Market. Specialized guides are available for the poet, free lancer, children's writer or what ever kind of writer you have in your life.

The ultimate Writer's gadget on my list is the Microsoft Surface Pro 2. The Surface has one of the most comfortable keyboards I've ever used. I love the touch screen. Best of all it runs MS Word like a desktop.

Of course nothing goes together like writers and coffee (except maybe peanut butter and jelly) making a coffee shop gift card a perfect gift for a writer. One BIG name in coffee shops has gift cards readily available but I like to support small local businesses whenever I can. Of course, writers need something cool to carry their gift cards, and a pen. I recommend Robin Pedrero's artsy dollar pouches from her Etsy shop.. They are just small enough to stash in your tote bag.

Finally, in my opinion, every writer needs a talisman, some physical artifact that reminds them to keep writing. My personal favorite is this magnetic locket by Polarity. The locket comes with three interchangeable lid to suit your mood. My choice is the reminder to "write what interests you." Good advice. Inside is just enough space to tuck a few writing prompts if they get stuck.

That's my short list. Have a wonderful Holiday.  I'll be back after the big day. 


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Outside the Lines

I had lunch with a friend and her 6 year old daughter, Madeline, the other day. Her daughter was coloring while we chatted. After a few minutes she held out her work to show us and the realization came to me that Madeline had learned to color inside the lines.

Her early artistic endeavors were chaotic scrawls of color, lines and squiggles that ignored the boundaries of propriety. Seeing them had made me uncomfortable somehow as if the flowers, dragons and princess she sought to embellish were disrespected by an unruly mass of pigmented wax.

I gave Madeline the praise she deserved for taking an important step in the development of her hand and eye coordination. Yet, I was sad, too, because something had been important left behind.

There is an instant in each of our lives, a watershed flash, when we learn to color inside the lines. We learn to conform, to follow rules, to fit into a frame work that keep things comfortable and safe. But with that some shred of our true genius is scrubbed away. A vestige of brilliance is left in a heap at the roadside.  A wild chaos is brought to heel.

Most of our lives are spent learning to follow rules, be they etiquette, or grammar, or just trying to stay within the lines. As adult the most self-aware of us struggle to get that element of chaos back. We learn anew to break rules and let go of that queasiness that comes with wearing white after Labor Day or mixing our metaphors.

I’m not suggesting we go crazy and start driving the wrong way down one way streets. But a little non-conformity is good for the spirit. Rebelliousness takes a different form for everyone—for the writer in me, unconventionality means using an em dash instead of more lady like punctuation. The dash is a bold interruption our sequence of thought. Or maybe you’ll find me wearing a pink cloche on a winter’s day—no one wears hats anymore.

So go ahead and color outside the lines. You have my permission.