Sunday, September 06, 2009


There have been various posts about a writer's adaptability and flexibility on this blog before. About how kids and work and life's unexpected twists (and twits :) can really pound a writing routine. We all know the drill:

Take head (A), apply Nose (D) to Grindstone (G), making sure that hands (B, C) and other critical bits ( E, F, and H - W) do not inadvertently come into contact with G while Power Switch (Y) is in the "On" position (X).

We also know that sometimes, events (Z) make steps A - Y about as viable as a hand-crank computer.

I'm at step Z right now. Or so I thought, until I started working on a short story in a hospital room at 11:45 pm last night. (I'm not ill, it's one of my sons, and he is doing well; but this post is not about him, and so I will not dwell.)

The thing is, sitting there after days of running to and fro, talking with specialists, advising nurses on the proclivities and challenges that are my son, spending too much for food and parking and not enough time with my wife or other son, sleeping every other night on the floor, and generally having zero time to think about writing, I found myself with itchy writer's brain. Coping mechanism? Maybe. Lord knows I'm not one to write short stories -- the Wyrdsmiths can testify to that -- so the unusual circumstances may be to blame. Plus, in all honesty, it's a story I've been kicking around on and off for ages. Still, imagine my surprise when I found my fingers tapping and brain spinning four days after my son's spinal surgery. Yeah, I didn't expect to be there, either, but the pistons decided to start chugging.

I'm not going to tell you I finished anything; I've barely started. Nor do I know if I will conclude this particular incarnation of the tale any time soon: regular writing would require more sleep than I've been getting. And even then, once I am in that place, I may just as easily turn back to my book. So I ain't saying anything concrete is going to come of this production-wise.

But I will say this: don't ever assume that you will be in a place where the Muse cannot find you, where the special gear in your brain won't engage, where you will not be able to write. As often as we may be right about it, we can just as easily be wrong. Stay open to the possibility, even when you are sure it isn't there. You may just surprise yourself.


Kelly McCullough said...


lydamorehouse said...

Yeah, that's incredibly inspirational, Doug. Thanks for that.