Lisa and I have been talking on the phone more or less continuously since 1980. If you don’t believe us, just ask our parents or our husbands. Our habit developed in high school. We would log at least a couple of hours after school, scurry to do our chores and eat dinner, then pick up the phone again. We talked while doing homework, and we talked through our favorite tv shows (we gave Hill Street Blues in particular some very insightful on-the-spot commentary). And this was after a day spent sharing a locker, sitting together at lunch, and having a few classes together. Even now we still talk on the phone several times a week for several hours at a time. We usually do housework while talking. It helps us get through the banality and repetition that is our lot.
Perhaps you are wondering just what all this has to do with writing? Read on, my dear, read on. We could not write together without the alchemy provided by a special magical trifecta: phone, word processing, and e-mail.
We call each other with key plot points, gab incessantly about them, assure each other that we are indeed incredibly funny, and occasionally actually pause to scribble down said plot points so that our tired middle-aged brains don’t forget what we just talked about before we even put the phone down and head over to the computer. For being the inventor of such a fine instrument as the telephone, we’re giving Mr. Bell a special shout-out in the title of this post. Truth be told, the computer is more valuable to our writing, but we can’t help ourselves; the phone is our first true love.
Lisa 1 honestly believes that she would have failed her prestigious public university if the glorious sun of word processing had not begun to shine during her freshman year. Her roommate’s Macintosh 128k required one to swap out the system disks while saving, but saved her from the hideous world of typewriters and white-out. She is forever grateful.
Lisa 2 cannot spell. Without spell-check, her spelling degrades to the point that Lisa 1 is not always sure what Lisa 2 meant to spell. We salute you, nameless inventor of spell-check. We will remain in your debt always.
Our method of writing is similar to a very lengthy game of tag. Only one of us works on the WIP at a time. We sit alone at our computers, fingers tip-tapping merrily across the keyboard when things are going well, and staring glumly at the screen when they are not. When we have added as much new text to the manuscript as we can think up, we send the whole thing via e-mail to the other Lisa. “Ha-ha,” we say. “You’re it. Now I get to watch What Not To Wear re-runs and play on facebook as much as I want–absolutely guilt-free.”
And that, my dear, is why I can type this happy little blog post to you. The other Lisa is working.