Saturday, July 24, 2010

Guest bogger Wes Pennington on the Writing Process

Hi, folks. So Jason asked me to step in on his blog to discuss the writing process. That’s all the guidance he gives me, right? The writing process. Could he have been any vaguer? Then he runs off to La Grange—not inviting me and Alex—and leaves me alone to it. To come up with the topic as well as the verbiage. But that’s published authors for you.

So tonight I’m sitting at home, staring at an empty page, knowing there are at least five different writing projects I could be working on instead of this lazy joker’s blog, when Duncan leans into the room.

“Hey, dude. Whatcha workin’ on?” I turn around, and Duncan has a bag of Bugles in one hand, a fistful of Bugles in the other. Crunch, crunch. “Nothing, eh?”

“Blog entry for a guy I know. Something about writing. I’d thought about recycling an article I wrote for the paper two months ago, but…”

“That would be lame,” Duncan finishes for me.

“Sure.” I was going to say that I’d need my editor’s permission first, but I know Duncan’s right. “So what’re you doing?”

When does Duncan actually ever do anything? “Dunno. Cerise is getting the Dish Network set up on the new flat-screen LG TV in the front room. And I’m just standing here eating my Bugles, thinking about opening me a bottle of Heineken. You want me to grab you one, sport?”

A Heineken sounds pretty good to me, actually, but I know drinking and writing don’t mix. “Nah, I’d better stick to trying to write,” I tell him. “What’s Alex up to?”

“Trying out her new tools, man. That Black and Decker set you got her for her birthday, with the rechargeable battery? Her and her mom have a project they’ve been working on. Big hairy secret.”

“Duncan, come in here.” Cerise pokes her head around the corner, sporting my Dinosaur Jr. t-shirt and adidas soccer shorts. “The view on this LG’s screen is fantastique. High-def, d’accord.” She smiles at me. “Oh Wes, you are writing.”

“No, not really.”

Just then the doorbell rings, and Cerise goes to answer it. Bovinely Duncan crunches Bugle after Bugle, occasionally putting the conical corn snacks on his fingers and doing the Freddy Kruger number with his hand. “Man, I love Bugles,” he says, mesmerized by his snack-fingered claw.

I still have no idea what to write about. Then Cerise comes back with our visitor. It’s Thom, Alex’s dad. “Hey Duncan, Wes,” he greets us. “I just stopped by to see whether Livvy and Kitten were done."

“Still playing with the Black & Decker, Mr. Duckett,” Duncan tells him.

“Come see our new LG flat-screen,” Cerise offers.

“Sure,” Thom says, grinning. “But lemme tell you…the handling on this Dodge 500 Livvy and I just bought rides like a dream. It doesn’t even feel like you’re doing ninety on the Interstate.”

“That would be the high-performance Pirellis as well, n’est ce pas?” Cerise suggests.

“Hey, Thom.” Kissing her dad, my darling Alex finally makes her appearance, and my office has officially reached capacity. “Livvy and I are done. She’s putting Mop ‘n’ Glo down on the floor right now.” Alex is holding in her hands a three-foot long cordless tree saw. “This Black and Decker system you got me is great, Wes honey.” She hands the saw over to her father, who admires it.

“Rechargeable battery, eh?” Thom says, making the saw rattle to life for a moment.

“Took it right out of the Black and Decker leaf blower before we started in on Bychenko.” Alex bounces over and kisses me, and I catch the pleasing cinnamon whiff of Big Red gum. “He seems to have sort of a thing about blondes wielding tree saws.”

“So he talked?” Thom raises his eyebrows. “Gave up the location of the laboratory?”

“It's in a storefront in Middletown between Radio Shack and Domino’s Pizza.” Alex polished the toe of one of her maroon Doc Martens. “He sang like he was on America’s Got Talent.”

“Hey,” Duncan says. “That’s on at 8 tonight.”

“On Fox,” Cerise says helpfully.

A plan’s coming together in my mind, and I might just have that slacker Jason’s blog entry yet. “Hey, you all…let me ask you this: how do you feel about reading stories with a lot of product placement in them?”

Duncan pops the top on a Heineken. “You mean, like, brand names and stuff?”

Thom shakes his head and slips on his pair of Foster Grant sunglasses. “Frankly, Wes, I’d never noticed.”

“Me neither.” Alex pats my Levi’s-clad knee.

“Come on,” Cerise says. “I have ordered Wok ‘n’ Go. And there is a Major League Soccer match coming on shortly.”

I check the blank Word document on my Dell Latitude Z and sigh. As wonderful as Microsoft Office is, it can’t do your writing for you. The Panasonic clock tells me in glowing green numerals that I haven’t got much time.

But Alex leans in and kisses me again, and this time her fragrance caresses my nose. Boucheron…it gets me every time.

Sorry, Jase, and never mind the blog. I get up from the Broyhill swivel chair. Soon, the Dell goes dark.


  1. It appears I am not allowed to find this funny interesting AND cool.... ergo, I shall settle for 2 out of 3 in the boxes and adding interesting here.

  2. Well, Sj, you were forewarned...