I just finished printing out the fourth draft of my current WIP: 376 pages. 103 000 words. Yay! It’s a beautiful thing to be going into the final trim/polish, and I aim to start submitting partials and queries mid-August. As I behold the stack of paper, a warm glowy feeling comes over me and settles in my belly. But it’s not what you think.
At this point, with my brain a muddle from many a late night, it isn’t accomplishment that has me so pleased. Or the fact that this latest novel’s in a genre that made me think while writing, This is it. This is _my_ kind of story. It’s not thankfulness, gratitude or awe that by writing, I get to explore myself and the world around me, that I get to live in an imaginary world, or that what happens next is as unlimited as imagination. No, nothing like that.
It’s purely the stack of paper itself that transports me to bliss. Its glorious weight. Its crisp edges. Its lovely brightness. And the fact that I’m now the proud owner of a state of the art “one press” Staples’ three-hole-punch. Yep, the gorgeous holes decorating the side of the manuscript were done by me. With ease. I am a sucker for (what I still call) school supplies: Sharpie markers, pens, pencil crayons, glue sticks, tape dispensers, stickers, corkboard, push pins, paper clips, staplers, electric pencil sharpeners (and small metal ones), doughy white erasers, and best of all, paper. Loose-leaf, graphing, three-hole-punched, card stock, manilla . . . any name, weight or colour you can imagine, I love it all.
A few years ago, before Terrace had a huge Staples outlet, my family and I visited the Staples in Williams Lake. Before we were even fully in the store (we’d just cleared the front doors and were about to go through the silver turnstiles), my daughter put a hand on my arm to hold me back. Slightly concerned, I did as prompted, stopped walking, looked down at her. Her eyes were closed, she took in a deep, deep breathe, then exhaled. “Oh, I just love that smell!” she said, then raced ahead. Oh yes, the aroma of stationary and office supplies. I DO love it–and I thrilled to her words. While my son and husband just kind of looked like we were nuts, I was thinking, Oh yay, it’s genetic!
So yes, though really what I love best about writing has nothing (much) to do with the supplies it involves, I can’t help but wonder if my passion for ink and all that goes with it isn’t part of the reason I fell to writing . . . or was it (is it) my passion for stories that led to such a freakish appreciation for the items that help bring those words to life? I don’t know. It’s a chicken or the egg question, and in some ways it doesn’t matter. Soon I’ll start polishing, but for today (inhale!) I’ll just enjoy the freshly printed pages.