For weeks now, I’ve been battling with the forces of writer’s block and going blue in the face trying to unload some sort of quality word soup into the form of a newspaper column.
My neck of the woods continues to brim with “believe it or not” episodes that make for great literary fodder, but for whatever reason, my ability to translate to text has met head-on with “blah, blah, blah.”
No doubt part of the reason for this is the fact that I don’t work in the newspaper office anymore.
While it often was one of the most annoyingly busy environments in which to get things done, I’ve since discovered that the incessant newspaper talk and the underlying smell of ink from the press played their part in the recipe that spelled out “The View From Here.”
Now, my creative space is a small station tucked beside the fridge in my 280 sq. ft. farmhouse kitchen.
Strategically placed, indeed. Shifting ever so slightly, I can watch television 10 paces to the right while, to my left, keep an eye on what I’m cooking on the stove for supper.
On each side of my wooden “office chair” sit two canine capers turning blue in the snout as they use all their brain power to convince me to let them have the rest of the cookie I’m eating and then let them outside to terrorize the cat.
And if they aren’t staring me down, they’re lying about grossing me out with noises of the sloppy, wet licking associated with cleaning themselves.
Behind me, the door to the outside world swings open and shut as Pete and Cohort #1 walk in and out wearing wet, sandy running shoes and looking for help with a computer project from “Mrs. Know It All,” who is about to erase both of them with a flat stare.
Just when I have an epiphany on an idea for a great story, Daughter #3 opens the door from her bedroom and lets out 75 decibels of rap music smothered in heavy bass tones which ricochet off the kitchen cupboards straight into my left ear and out my right—taking with it every letter of the alphabet from my brain.
When I get back in the groove, the phone rings. I answer ‘Hello” to a silent party, followed by the sudden onset of voices and the relentless spiel of a tele-marketer.
A TV commercial I just saw, in which “Darth Maul” from Star Wars sends lightning bolts from his hand through the phone line, comes to my mind.
Right then and there, I decide to drop everything and go mow the lawn, hoping some sort of head laundry will ensue and a great story line for my column will appear somewhere between the front lawn and the grassy knoll to the creek.
Three hours of grass-cutting and weed-eating later, I’m still grasping at straws and fall into a kitchen chair next to my “office” and slam back a cold drink of water.
Pete walks in behind me, sits down, and tries to draw out some sort of literary plan for me. Maybe I could talk about the next chapter in the “Rusty Bachelor Diaries,” or the 15 unfinished projects lying around the farmyard this week.
Yes, I could.
He continues to chat about this and that, and gets up to make himself a sandwich. I decline his offer to join in the afternoon snack while lamenting my need to watch my diet.
“You always watch your diet,” he retorts, followed by a long bout of silence as he makes a ham sandwich heavy with lettuce, mayo, and onions.
“I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this but . . . .,” he begins to say.
Okay, wait a minute, folks. I’m guessing most husbands wouldn’t have even opened their mouths and spoke those words and if they had, would smartly retrace their steps.
Or, in the New York minute it took their brains to wave a caution flag, have changed the ending in order to avoid having harm done to them by the wife.
Not my man. Nope. Granted, I know he loves me inside and out, with my Buddha or without it, but this time he’s toast.
“I’ll probably get in trouble for saying this but . . . you work so hard at it. . . . So why aren’t you skinny as a rake?” he queried, ever so the innocent.
My answer was another story—yet by the laws of the written word, not printable by a long shot.
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