Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, March 31

Gapers Block

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This article was supposed to be about the Chicago Cubs. This article was begun on Saturday, May 31, after witnessing 16 innings of the best damn ball game ever. This article was to be a funny and touching voyage from my childhood passion for the Cubs to my newfound adult romance with them. That article was not written. This one takes its place instead.

After trying to find an angle for two days, I was quite unsuccessful, much to my chagrin. With my baseball scrapbook in front of me, and my Cubs knit cap on my head, I attempted to begin again. After two forced and painfully cheesy paragraphs, I knew I was stuck. Sure the title "Cub Reporter" was clever enough with its pun and all, but the rest of it just plain sucked. (And really, the title wasn't that great either.)

Everyone has their own way of doing things; this holds particularly true with the writing process. Instead of following the advice of others, I turned to my own trusty method. Sure it varies slightly from work to work, but I have found the technique, and all its variations, to be quite helpful. Feel free to use it as well:

1. Type out all of your notes for your piece (because you take your work seriously, you really should have notes).

2. Neatly print out all your notes on an old Mead College Ruled 1 Subject Notebook that you found while looking for something else.

3. While looking through your file cabinet, wonder out loud, "Why does it smell like cat piss?" and then notice the fresh puddle of urine next to your new All-Stars.

No cat piss here.

Fig 1. The shoes are safe -- for now.

4. Chat with friends online, informing them you are supposed to be writing but are just "taking a break" at the moment.

5. Look for a copy of your marriage license so you can finally change your surname on your state ID and driver's license.

6. Call the husband, who is out working in Connecticut, and ask him where the license could possibly be.

7. Reread your handwritten notes and compare them to your printed copy to see if you missed anything.

8. Eat a granola bar remembering that you read somewhere granola helps with brain function. Then recall that it was menopause, and not brain function, that granola aids.

9. Eat some olives. Green ones with red pimentos.

10. Eat a second granola bar, just in case.

11. Drink lots of water in that giant Winnie-the-Pooh tumbler you own, because all of that granola and the olives have made you quite thirsty.

12. Stop to chuckle when you recall that morning you and your friend Michael witnessed a man walking down the street wearing nothing but white gym shoes and gray briefs — which were hanging halfway down his buttocks.

13. Make your mantra, "The boss is cracking the whip! The boss is cracking the whip! The boss is cracking the whip!" in hopes that it will inspire you to finish way before your Wednesday deadline.

14. Take your printed notes, your Mead College Ruled 1 Subject Notebook, turn off iTunes, close the laptop and write in bed with a black Bic ball-point pen, just like you used to.

To write with yes?

Fig 2. The old-school laptop.

So there you have it. Just remember that everyone goes about the writing process in their own way — some with successful results, and others....well, you know. And although my scientifically-backed method wasn't quite up to par this time around, just wait till next time!

And in case you were interested, here is a summary of the would-be baseball article: after striking out five times, Sosa hits a one-out single at the bottom of the 16th, bringing Alex Gonzalez home to score and ending the game at 0-1; never let it be said that I am one of those women who watches the game just for the men (although I have noticed the Cubs sporting some droopy drawers as of late -- taking away from butt watch-age); Astros center fielder Craig Biggio is rather smallio compared to the other players; and why have one 7th inning stretch when you can have two?

Keep on writing.


About the Author(s)

Alejandra Valera promises an in-depth article concerning Cubs coverage next time. In the meantime she's still writing at Injust-Spring.

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