Sunday, December 31, 2017

Chasing Tail

At some point before I awaken each day, I must be moving my arms out from under the blanket because what wakes me is Sneezy making biscuits on my bare skin. She always manages to find that one little place that isn’t covered. If I draw the arm back under the covers, she switches to the other arm. Today, as I lay there enduring the torture, I wondered why we call our sheets, our blankets, our bedclothes -- covers? Is it because they cover the bed, or because they cover us? Maybe subconsciously we relate it with undercover, which covers a variety of secret activities like reading with a flashlight, or playing with snakey.

Ideas on the subject of covers were going off faster than paparazzi flashbulbs in my brain, one after another. The timing was right, the play on words so delectable I tasted them. This post would have you ruining keyboards. I got up, let the cats out, made coffee, let the cats in, the husband came home hungry, there was dinner to make, the dishes to clean up, cats to let out, cats to let in, and by the time I sat down to write – poof. It was gone. How freaking annoying.

This happens to me all the time, most often when I’m in the shower, or out in the garden. It happens in places where my brain is engaged in something that doesn’t require concentration, and somewhere, way underneath, there’s a little wiggle, and the wiggle worms its way to the surface and breaks through the concrete. The idea hatches full-blown, and all that’s required of me is to write it down before it wriggles its way back to the netherworld. But of course, there’s no pen handy. I will run in from the garden, my hands covered with soil and manure to jot down the gist of an idea, but I will not run through a chilly house, soaking wet with hair dripping. I have limits. What really ticks me off is when I’m writing gangbusters and my husband comes in to tell me about some dumb thing he’s watching on TV (especially when it’s a commercial), and breaks my concentration. Like now.

Do you remember the last good idea you had, where you were, what you were doing at the time, and what caused it to disappear?

I am particularly annoyed today because it was the best idea I‘ve had in a while. I’m in edit mode, not writing mode. I’m desperately trying to get the chapters in my novel flipped back and forth between past and present, while weeding and pruning with what I’ve learned from Miss Snark in the past few weeks. This has been going on long enough and I want to start querying again before the paranormal trend dies and becomes the ghost of Christmas Past.

I can sit and read someone else’s work, and what needs to be fixed is clear as brand new contacts to me. When it comes to my own, I might just as well be sunk in a mud bath with tea bags over my eyes. I think I am not getting the whole “this is set-up” business, especially when no one will be running through my story with a flaming coiffure.

I feel guilty when I don’t visit everyone else’s blog, or reply to comments, and I must take time to go vote on Miss Snark’s blog, since I participated in the Crapometer this time. I think I owe her at least that much. Before I know it, the clock will strike midnight, and I will have lost another day. I will edit until three, okay, five o’clock, ignoring the e-mails popping up in my box, and the ones already open and shouting for my attention before I crash and burn to sleep the morning away. Then I will somehow manage to allow my bare arms to sneak out from under the covers and rouse to find Sneezy making biscuits on them. I will tumble out of bed, start all over again, and not accomplish a damn thing.


  1. I feel as you do when it comes to editing my own work. It was hard enough struggling to get the word count because I write so darn tight!

  2. Every change you make to your novel is a step forward. Never fear; you shall make progress!

    (Yep. Editing yourself is DAMNED HARD. I have determined that I definitely despise editing mode. :-)

    Do you happen to have a microcassette recorder, or a similar recording device? I bet you could find one on ebay for like five bucks (and believe me, I know sometimes five bucks seems like a lot of money!) -- but if you had one, you wouldn't have to worry about going for a pen. You could just talk your ideas in and transcribe them later. :-)

  3. This is why I started doing puzzles. I can immerse myself into the finding of that one piece and literally forget the world. Then is when a great idea will stomp through just waiting to be written. Unfortunately for me, I am usually brought out of my pondering mode by family. Or the dog. -- and i hate it when that happens because i will forget everything i was just thinking at that moment.

    I hate editing too. That's why I was so happy to meet you. You are fabulous. :)

  4. "I will tumble out of bed, start all over again, and not accomplish a damn thing."

    sounds to me you're accomplishing something important: a full life.

    My man does the exact same thing w/the narrative-destroying interruptions. I feel bad when I tell him to go away for a minute, 'cause I know every time he comes in to tell me something stupid the dog just did, he's really saying, "I love you I love you I love you I love you."

    I tried to explain to him it's like being on the edge of orgasm to get that exciting thought out onto the page before you lose your 'window'; sometimes you just need the entire universe to sit still for a moment while you finish...

  5. Oh, good. I thought there was something wrong with me. I hate editing. Hate it! My head says, "I've already written THIS. Moving on...moving on."

  6. Hey! What happened to my post?! I wrote a long one this morning, and it looked like it went up just fine. CRAZY!

    Anyway, the gist of it was that I adored your account of your morning, especially the Sneezy stuff. I compared her to my Jasmine, who also "knits" on my arms every morning ("makes biscuits), and always wakes me up.

    I also encouraged you with Rain. You will never regret this, and it will get done, hard as it is to resist the temptations of distractions!

    Okay, so there's a short version of my long winded reply this morning! Have a great night, Val.

  7. What do you write, Roxan? I don't think I've ever gotten to read anything of yours.

    The recorder is a great idea, SW. I should look into that.

    Thanks for the compliment, Leary. How's the puzzle coming? Is it the same one? I'd like to see that fish wearing a doll's dress.

    I knew there must be another reason you always remind me of Anais Nin, Little Bird. I'll just say, "Yeah. What you said!"

    Hey Cheryl, I don't hate editing. I hate editing my stuff. I want it to be born pink and perfect on the first try, and send it out into the world work its little butt off and buy its mama some new shoes and a big house in the country. Is that so much to ask?

    I don't know what happened to your post, Aaron. I swear I never saw it. I'll bet, though, that the verification didn't go through, but you had already closed the window. I've done that a couple times. It's annoying, isn't it?

  8. I hate editing, too. I can immediately see what's wrong with someone else's work, but I can't seem to see my own trees for the forest.

    I, too, have lost many more good ideas to faulty memory than I've ever put to paper. I KNOW I won't remember it and should write it down, but sometimes I'm just too darn lazy to get up (because they invariably come to me after I've gone to bed) and do it. It's my own fault.

  9. Southern Writer, don't worry about my blog. I'm just over there blathering to myself. If you get there sometime, glad to see ya. If ya don't, I'll wander over to your front porch and sit a spell.

  10. Me never really worries about editing. Me was born into this world the way the maker wanted me to be, and so are the thoughts that come from me brain Me do like to check me spelling now and again though.
    Then again me don't have any aspirations other than keeping me children happy with stories of the improbable and insipid type.

  11. SJ, I don't really get idea in bed (at least, not any I want to write down for public view), but I do have this method of thinking about something that's troubling me, and when I wake up, I know the answer.

    CD, that was an absolute awesome video you had on your blog. I wish it were as simple as just not visiting, but there's a reason all of you are in my sidebar - I love to read what you've written. Some you make me laugh, some of you make me think, some of you inspire me - I need that!

    I wish I had that luxury, Scary. I have to edit because I do want my book published. You have such an original voice and wit, and sometimes a beautiful poignancy, you really should think about writing a book!


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