Believe it or not, I actually write some of my own material.
I know what you’re thinking. “Hold on there, Pulitzer Prize winner wannabe. What do you mean you actually write some of your own material? If you have any hope at all of winning a prize, making millions by being published, and traveling from one book-signing to the next, that material is supposed to be your own stuff. Any knot-head knows that.”
Trust me, I haven’t gone the way of Silas Marner author, Maryanne Evans, who hid her real identity by adopting the pseudonym “‘George Eliot,” or Amandine Aurore Dupin Lucie, the French author who wrote as “George Sand.” And “Marguerite House” isn’t the nom-de-plume of a demented recluse named Mildred Dredmill living in a camp trailer at a wind-swept Wyoming rest stop.
To set the record straight, the material I’m cranking out is my own. I don’t have a secret ghost-writer, and “Marguerite House” isn’t an alias. For better or worse, I truly am the author of everything printed each week in this space.
I suppose writing under an assumed name would allow me to write what I really think about everything from viruses and protests to media and elections. Or I could rant and rave about some Cody-specific pet peeves. As it is, small-town writers take a risk that fellow townspeople will be offended and speed away when their shopping carts meet in the cereal aisle, for instance. Or they avert their eyes when both happen to ride the same elevator.
However in this day and age, it was never more true that, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Who would want to jeopardize that? Nope, a pen name simply isn’t my style.
But I digress.
What I started to say was that sometimes I actually write my own columns. I mean literally – pen in hand and yellow legal pad in lap. I know that’s hard to believe given my love affair with technology. However, some of what I consider my best efforts have been scribbled in a spiral notebook with a rollerball pen. All those words crossed out and arrows darting here and there in the margins – the visual aspect simply screams creativity.
Since comfort is key for the free flow of thought, I plop down in the recliner, and then lay in a supply of popcorn and diet cola – snacks most conducive to a superior column. Finally, I balance the legal pad on my knees and scribble away with a ’70s TV sitcom in the background.
In the end, I have to say those grease spots from buttery fingers add to the experience. Plus, I can judge the quality of the column by a highly tested and sophisticated mathematical formula. It goes something like this: Calculate the number of butter spots, then divide by the number of flying arrows and finally multiply by the inverse of the number of crossed-out words. The higher the ratio (I think), the better the column. I know it’s hard to believe, but this is a proven fact.
Oh, and this piece? 13 butter spots, nine flying arrows, and 33 crossed-out words.
I think that’s a record.