A Mostly-True Tale

These would pop up on any normal day in my life.

“I need to write tonight,” I say. I just got home from an extra-long day at work. “I didn’t get anything done this morning.”

Well, that’s not strictly true. I did get a lot done: I exercised for forty minutes; put one load of laundry in the dryer, washed another and got it into the dryer, too; ate breakfast; washed the dishes from breakfast along with the cat bowls; started the dishwasher; and watered the plants outside. Oh, yeah, I took out the trash and recycling, too.

Then my work cell phone rang. I had just opened my work in progress and the cursor was flashing at me. Ignore it, the screen says to me. Don’t answer.

I have to, of course. There’s a problem and I have to go in earlier than I’m supposed to. I close Scrivener, log out of the computer and saddle up. Off to my work day.

A spare moment comes along and I get to think about my work in progress. I scribble down a couple of ideas and stuff the scrap of paper in my shirt pocket. When I get to my lunch ‘break’, I think I might have a few minutes to work on a blog post for the Cafe. Whatever I can get done I can email back to myself and have it to work on when I get home. The cursor winks at me, Hello there. What’s on your mind?

A knock on my door. Someone needs my attention. So much for writing.

Later in the day, I pull out that scrap of paper while I’m waiting for a meeting to start. I manage to add a couple more words before things get rolling and back into the pocket it goes.

The end of my day and I’m in the car heading back home. I call my wife to see if she needs anything and I have to make a stop at the store. Five o’clock is the very busiest time at the grocery store and the parking lot is full and the lines are long and everyone there is in a foul mood. It takes forever. By the time I get back in the car and make it into traffic, my mood is souring, too.

But I get home and everything’s okay. Really it is. I just need a couple minutes to decompress and —

My son wants my attention. He has school information I need to have. By the time I sit down with a cup of coffee to chat with my wife about her day, well it’s getting late. “I need to write tonight,” I tell her as I head to the kitchen to make dinner. “I didn’t get anything done this morning.”

By the time I sit down to write, it’s 7:45 and I’ve poured a whisky and I’ve got my work in progress open. I yawn. I try to focus on what I last wrote and read the previous three pages or so. I manage to get three or four sentences typed and my wife tells me she’s going to bed. I grind the coffee and set the timer on the coffee pot before I forget to do it. I’m tired. It’s been a long day and I’m just not feeling it in terms of writing.

Shit. I close Scrivener (thank god for auto-save!) and log out. I’ve still got half a whisky so I sit down to watch ten minutes of TV. I yawn.

Tomorrow, I think. I’ll get more done tomorrow…

Jason Arnett is a storyteller living in Kansas and writing in the plains of the fantastic. Some of his work can be found at www.jasonarnett.com

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