I’ll tell you a secret—all my stories (even the long nonfiction ones) start with wide-lined, loose-leaf notebook paper and a blue Bic pen. These are my favorite writing utensils for early drafts. I like them because they’re not precious. I don’t have to worry about writing words that rhyme or sentences with cadence. I can simply play, trying anything, trying everything, scratching out, crumpling up, experimenting. There are no expectations. The ordinariness of those writing utensils frees me to play with language, mess around with words, fill up pages. And every so often I will see… just barely see… the shape of a story in that play.