Writing Wrongs

November 23, 2005

So yesterday evening, the sudden urge to print my Golden Heart entry seized me. I did want to send it off before Thanksgiving--that and the ďreceive byĒ date is December 2nd, and I donít like cutting it too close.

So, armed with the massive two-pack, on sale, 1,200 sheets (600 in each ream--what a deal!) of paper from Target and what I hope is enough printer ink, I begin. In actuality, I only need ~300 sheets of paper, but itís always good to have a little extra.

I need to print six partials. For India Charlie thatís the first three chapters of forty five pages and a six page synopsis (actually itís 5 and quarter, but whoís counting), for a total of 51 pages in each little bundle.

The current ink tank was only half full, and I decimate that pretty quickly. I pop in the second and keep going, only to find that one line on the first page of my synopsis prints blurry. I waste about twenty sheets of paper and a good twenty minutes figuring out how to print this page so it doesnít blur. Once I have it, I assemble the three partials Iíve printed so far.

In the meantime, Kyra has taken up a spot at my desk. She has her hands on the keyboard. Did I mention the word processor is open to my manuscript, the one Iím printing. She looks at me all proud. ďI just pretending, Mommy.Ē On the first page of my manuscript, above the words Chapter One, I now have:

gh 8 --= r3j;e

Nice. Just what the story needed. Fortunately, it didnít end up in the printed copies. I convince her to go bother her brother while I change another ink tank. Almost done. I find six fresh binder clips. I have, in the past, recycled binder clips from old contest entries, but then I wonder, what if they have bad contest karma on them? Because everyone knows, the outcome to the Golden Heart depends on oneís binder clips. Itís right there, on page six of Writerís Digest.

But now I need . . . more ink. No joke. And there is none. None, I tell you, to be had. Itís nine oíclock and Iím pretty sure OfficeMax is closed, or will be by the time I can get there. I search around the printer, but all I can find is color ink, and that wonít cut it. On the off chance there might be some in the drawers, I pull those open as well.

What do you know? A lone ink tank, black ink, no less, is waiting for me. I pop that in, return to my desk in time for Kyra to wander up by again, juice box in hand. She squeezes and apple juice spurts from the straw. A globule of juice hovers in the air in suspended animation. It will land on my keyboard. It will land on my keyboard. It will land on my keyboard.

It lands on my leg, falling short by a mere few inches. Keyboard saved. Manuscript saved. Pant leg soaked. After four tries, I even manage to get a file of the full manuscript to both save and open again on CD. Itís either that or print the whole thing.

And I donít have enough ink.

Or fortitude.

On my lunch break, Iíll walk the bundle over to the post office and then pretend the whole thing never happened.

Wishing you all a wonderful, stress free Thanksgiving. May your ink tanks runneth over.

Charity Tahmaseb wrote at 10:36 a.m.