Day 36: Writers Life

Organizing my poetry folder this morning, I found a little day-in-the-life story from October 2018.  It is primarily about the way fickle inspiration for a poem or a short story sometimes comes to you, and if you’re not disciplined enough, it flies away, forgotten forever.  Thought I would share it today.


A poetess friend of mine had an hour and a half to waste this Saturday morning between appointments.  She asked if I’d like to join her in the enjoyable, underrated activity of wasting time.  We wasted it well with a conversation at a Fairhaven cafe from 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. exactly.   I prefer to waste my time over coffee, conversation, and one essential sweet danish.

The cafe is about half a mile from my home.  I bundled up in scarf and winter coat for a crisp October walk into town.  

We filled up the hour and fifteen minutes discussing many current events touching on local, national, and global headlines. Every so often, with this particular friend, our conversation travels to the topic of dealing with co-workers who are the adult children of alcoholics. My friend and I are adult children of alcoholics, who also married alcoholics.  We share a similar recovery.  In our 40’s we sought help, read books, attended Al-Anon. Today we have little patience for codependency, passive-aggressive behavior, and non-recovered addicts.  This behavior runs rampant and undiagnosed in the workplace.  We share about recent encounters back and forth and wished that more people would wake up and seek personal healing.  Rumi said, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.  Today I am wise so I am changing myself.”  

At 9:45 we end our time.  I begin to walk down the avenue to my apartment.  The sun was up, it burned the scarf off my neck.  Often as I walk I also write…in my mind.  Too often, however, what I am composing with each step does not make it to paper.  By the time I get home the story slowly disperses into vapor.  

There is something about routine domestic actions that erase creative thought.  Walking through the door, after a long stroll, the draft, that was once bubbling in my thoughts, gets overpowered by housley chores.  The trash needs to go out, dishes scream to be washed and a, “by the way, it’s time to scrub the toilet!”  An hour later the concept I was crafting is gone.  

Writers value enduring concepts, those strong storylines, words, images, ideas that stay with you for weeks, even months.  These are the ones you should pay attention to, right?  With that in mind, coming home from another errand, at one block from my apartment, I challenged myself with a taunt, “OK, you got another great starter story here.  Now, what if you went home, avoided all domestic temptations, opened your laptop, and typed up what you just composed, like, as fast as you can?”  —OK, you’re on! 

Roll of quarters in my right pocket for laundry weighs down my winter coat on a slant as I make a second attempt to walk home “successfully.”  The extra weight feels like a limp.  As I walk I am at a perfect pace with a mother, child, and dog walking on the other side.  Maddening.  It is maddening to walk in perfect pace with another as you travel towards your destination.  Is that person going to mirror your moves until you reach your destination?  Will you discover that you are actually neighbors?  Will there be a moment when you cannot avoid the expected response about the weather? Maddening, absolutely maddening.  

We walked in unison for four long blocks. >A parallel of awkwardness<  Walking is sacred.  Don’t you know you’re in my church, mother?  Slow down or speed up!  Hold on to the story.  Hold on to the story.

So while I am walking, I composed a magnificent short story, possibly a prose poem.  But, I am sorry to say, after I got home, took out the garbage, had more coffee, started a load of wash, scrubbed the toilet, turned on, “Last Podcast on the Left” for background noise, sat at my desk and…I completely forgot the story.  I’m writing now hoping to trick myself that I won the challenge. So far…nothing.


Hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into my daily life.  Remember the lesson is: challenge yourself and don’t clean the toilet!  -Take care and write often!

Jokes About Writers

Some of my favorite jokes about writers
(because we’re so weird)

How many screenwriters does it take to change a light bulb?
Answer: Ten.
1st draft. Hero changes light bulb.
2nd draft. Villain changes light bulb.
3rd draft. Hero stops villain from changing light bulb. Villain falls to death.
4th draft. Lose the light bulb.
5th draft. Light bulb back in. Fluorescent instead of tungsten.
6th draft. Villain breaks bulb, uses it to kill hero’s mentor.
7th draft. Fluorescent not working. Back to tungsten.
8th draft. Hero forces villain to eat light bulb.
9th draft. Hero laments loss of light bulb. Doesn’t change it.
10th draft. Hero changes light bulb.

****

How many science fiction writers does it take to change a light bulb?
Two, but it’s actually the same person doing it. He went back in time and met himself in the doorway and then the first one sat on the other one’s shoulder so that they were able to reach it. Then a major time paradox occurred and the entire room, light bulb, changer and all was blown out of existence. They co-existed in a parallel universe, though.

How many publishers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Three. One to screw it in. Two to hold down the author.

How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Two. One to screw it almost all the way in, and the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.

How many screenwriters does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Why does it *have* to be changed?

How many cover blurb writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A VAST AND TEEMING HORDE STRETCHING FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA!!!!

****

A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.

She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.

“Oh my,” said the writer. “Let me see heaven now.”

A few moments later, as she ascended into heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.

“Wait a minute,” said the writer. “This is just as bad as hell!”

“Oh no, it’s not,” replied an unseen voice. “Here, your work gets published.”