I slept badly last night, my arthritis finding a new joint to complain about every time I shifted away from the current one. I finally got up a little after midnight and took a strong pain pill, read a chapter of Karen Penman’s The Sun in Splendor, and went back to bed, only to be blasted awake by the scream of a blue jay on the balcony. They’re loud birds and we had a window open and the bird was insistent: Hey, lady, where’s my peanut?!?

So I got up, pulled on a robe and went out on the balcony.   No crows for a wonder, but the jay had only retreated into a nearby tree, still shouting, three squirrels were in the street and a larger number than usual sparrows waited – one even came cheekily onto the balcony. It was only six thirty, why were they so impatient? I tossed a fistful of peanuts into the street, and sat on the folding chair to watch as they were quickly scooped up, thinking dark thoughts.  How did what I once thought was a happy, gracious favor become a right?

Too annoyed to go back to bed, time for tea.

I keep pulling up the “working” chapter of Tying the Knot (aka Goodbye Crewel World), tapping out a sentence or reworking a paragraph, staring at it for a few minutes, then closing the thing again. I read a recommendation from an author to think of stalled work as a rhinoceros. A rhino has one response to any stimulus: it instantly becomes enraged and charges, stamping and hooking, then once the object of its fury is destroyed or runs successfully away, it goes back to grazing. A piece of writing that refuses to step forward is to be thought of as the object of a rhino’s fury and the author is to sit down and write the damn thing, even badly, just champ away at it ferociously. Maybe that will work for me. I’ll try it later this morning.

About Ellen

Professional Mad Scientist for several years. Retired.
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