Monday, July 19, 2010

'The Write Tools' #22 - Ezra Bix

Welcome to another edition of ‘The Write Tools’: a blog series featuring authors, artists and their favourite tools.

Today's guest is poet Ezra Bix. Ezra is the author of Dancing in the Lifeboat, a collection of poetry. Ezra was also finalist in the Doris Leadbetter Poetry Cup, and the winner of The Age Melbourne Writers' Festival Poetry Idol.

The first tool I need is a desk.

It should be clean.

A clean desk means a clear mind - or so my mother used to say.

I like starting a new piece of writing with a nice, clean, blank canvas of a desk stretched out in front of me.

The second tool is a window.

It lets in the clear light and wisdom of the morning and the view provides a counterpoint from the page.

I also like to look far out the window to the city because my office bound friend, Michel, said it’s good for your eyes to change focal length every so often, away from the computer screen – and that sounds sound to me.

(Did you just try looking out a window now? Good idea.)

It’s also good for your mind to change its focal length every now and then too.

The third tool is a pile of recycled paper.

There’s something nice about using all the blank sides of the printed pages you receive.

Those pages have two stories on them by the end of the day – one either side. Parallel narratives perhaps. The bold, red reminder notice of monies still owed and a poem about poverty.

The penultimate tool is a broken pen. I prefer writing with an unbroken, un-dog-chewed pen, but all my good pens seem to disappear.

No-one souvenirs a dog-chewed pen.

I currently have a biro with a markedly mangled rear end and I have a strange, psychic confidence that I will never lose it.

This ever-smiling, three-legged, mangy, stray always seems to stay around.

Writers well know their pens migrate to the jacket pocket, the kitchen notepad, the top of the bedside drawer. It’s not unusual for me to find a cabal of ten, disenfranchised pens all congregating in the one pocket; plotting to write a damning treatise on neglect and forgetfulness.

Thus there are times for a writer, like a woman with a bulging wardrobe who ‘can’t find anything to wear’, that a pen is nowhere to be found.

At times like this, the broken pen always seems to magically appear. Loyal, reliable, omnipresent.

(The Mont Blancs and supermodels in my life rarely seem to stay longer than a fashion season.)

Being a keen recycler, I can’t just throw a pen with a half-crushed fuselage out; because it still works.

Old biros never die they just keep telling tales.

The same theory applies to wallets. Whenever I buy lovely, expensive leather wallets they are stolen or lost within months. So I bought a one-dollar vinyl wallet from a two dollar shop and three decades later I still have it.

Unfortunately it is now too worn and embarrassing to pull out at a restaurant. But have I been able to throw it out? No. Because I know that if called upon to carry vital state secrets over enemy lines, I only have to pop them in the crappy wallet and no harm can possibly come to them.

So my trusty, broken pen lies obediently by my laptop, like a loyal mutt, grateful to have finally found an accepting master.

My computer is not a tool as it has a mind of its own and I seem to have no control over it whatsoever.

But I am apparently master of that most temperamental of tools, the hazy morning brain. Like the dog, it seems to have hung around and is fairly reliable and not needy. Unlike the supermodel. And at least it’s not constantly asking for up-dates or crashing.

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