Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Advice for Writers--Tape and Rule

My father was a heck of a carpenter until tremors in his hands made it difficult for him to build as he used to. I helped him on a number of jobs and learned a lot about the trade, although I will never be a furniture-grade artisan. I'm more a treehouse/doghouse level practitioner of the art. My tightest tolerance is 1/2 an inch, in a field where tolerances are zero inches. You get the idea.

Nonetheless, I enjoy building things and doing projects using my skills, such as they are. Recently (since last August) I have been converting our security fence that used to be around our swimming pool (which was filled in several years ago) into a nice picket fence. My dad sometimes comes to watch and advise me. Now, I prefer to use a tape to measure things. He swears by a rule, which I am not comfortable using. I've tried using one, and folding and unfolding one seems to be too much work. A rule does have the advantage of not flexing back on itself and collapsing like a tape, but, hey, I can work with a few collapsed tapes.

Here are a couple of shots of my fence project, which is about 40% complete:

Here's a shot of a partly completed section of the fence with my yellow cat litter tool bucket in front of the fence. That's my shed that needs painting in the background. The pile of lumber is discards from the old fence.

Another shot of the fence, showing a part near the house. You can see the old security fence in the background, and the new picket fence to the left. Progress is being made. 
Here's a nice picture of a Stanley tape, just like the one I have:

And here's a picture of a rule:

The point is this: using a rule or a tape is a matter of comfort and personal preference. Either one will get the job done. So it is with writing. There's no wrong or write way to go about it. Some writers write in the morning, some in the afternoon. Some write in marathon sessions, others for short bursts. These things don't matter: what matters is that the job of producing meaningful, truth-filled and excellent writing is done. Rule or tape: it's your choice. Write on!

1 comment:

  1. ..and in a totally unrelated aside: cat litter jugs/buckets are such useful items. I have two jug-style ones that I use to water plants that the hose doesn't reach, or to fill the fountain. I've even considered that they would be useful (well-washed, of course) for storing water for emergency use... If they fit in the freezer (hmmm...) they might be good to stick in the big cooler for trips...

    Are you painting or staining the picket fence? My painter convinced me that a white stain was the way to go. Looks great still (sold the house, but I've never seen anyone painting it) and is power-washable...