Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This is not a drill: A Nano-Memo from the Secretary

For unofficial use only.

Open Memo from the Department of Literary Security
To: All Departments & Interested Parties
RE: Literary Alert Level Tango

We have been monitoring internet traffic on sites frequented by wordsmiths, and literary agents provacateurs from the Office of Letters & Light and are reporting an uptick in chatter related to writing nonstop for a month and the hoarding of items related to same. 

We can only conclude that a Significant Word-Count Event (SWCE) is imminent.

Pending a presidential declaration of a state of emergency (The White House and FEMA is not returning our calls as of this writing) all writers are advised to shelter in place or seek out the nearest library or coffee shop.

During the last SWCE, over 3 billion words erupted from the nation's writers and worldwide shortages of coffee, pastries, and adjectives were reported.

This is not a drill.

During moments of extreme literary unrest, the department advises that it can take up to thirty (30) days for emergency supplies to reach affected areas. All writers are advised to stock up on necessary supplies and foodstuffs sufficient to sustain life and word counts unaided for thirty (30) days without resupply. 

Our experts have prepared the following list of suggested supplies for all writers:
  1. A comfy place to sit or stand in a place conducive to surviving 30 unbroken days of writing.
  2. Coffee, tea, hot cocoa, or coffee.
  3. Sustainable levels of baked goods.
  4. Vegetables for when you are feeling guilty for trying to survive entirely on items 2 and 3.
  5. Writing implements to fit your age, milieu, or chosen level of pretense.
  6. Ink for pens, printers, copiers, goose quills (see item #5).
  7. Phone numbers of out-of-area contacts willing to take late-night phone calls when you are stuck, overwhelmed, or procrastinating.
  8. A padlock to secure the off-switch for the internet for most of the duration of the emergency.
  9. A supportive and/or tolerant spouse, family member, roommate, significant other, good friend, complete stranger you thought you knew but turned out you didn't but who gives surprisingly good advice on dialogue.
  10. A sense of humor.
Additional items, medications, &c. may be added as needed for the individual. Good luck and may the spirit of those who came before guide you in this time of trial.

The department will monitor the situation and report developments via the usual channels as events warrant.

See you in December.

Regards, etc.

Scott W. Perkins

Secretary of Literary Security 
(Presidential appointment and congressional confirmation pending)


  1. "...worldwide shortages of coffee, pastries, and adjectives were reported." Not the adjectives! Oh noes!


Pages to Type is a blog about books, writing and literary culture (with the occasional digression into coffee and the care and feeding of giant robots).