Kage Baker loved those days when the energy was free and flowing – nay, not just flowing, but leaping round her ankles as insistently as a beagle puppy begging for a walk. And she didn’t even like puppies.
But she loved that energy, the good stuff, that gets you jumping from bed in glee and excitement, the white fire rising in your bones and your hands aching to pull stories from the aether! She liked it best of all when it was biddable, and would consent to be still just long enough to be leashed. Otherwise, you risk spending the day running madly from unavoidable task to irresistible distraction; and while the running itself is a joy and delight, you get so much more done if you pick a path and stick to it. Over the hills and far away is fine as directions go, in a greeting-card, nursery rhyme kind of way – but what you really want is a map you can read and all the omens unciphered, and a clear road to the Field We Do Not Know.
Last night I spent a happy evening re-writing a little story. It’s been jittering on the back burner of my mind for some time, and I finally got it into a shape I like. It actually resembles what I dreamed one morning, when the energy woke me up with An Idea … and it’s still barely over 5,000 words, which is, like, the most concise thing I’ve ever written. (I don’t do concise easily.) And today I compiled it into some magazine’s extremely picky format, and I submitted it! And while I would really like to sell it – the mere fact that I submitted it successfully and got an acknowledgement of it and have a file with a special name on it on my hard drive and all that Grownup Writer stuff has left me with a wonderful feeling of success.
I have Accomplished Something. I have Completed a Task. I have quite legitimately Checked An Item Off The List. (In purple ink, no less.) I’ve fallen into a wild Victorian over-abundance of capitals as well, but that’s just because I’m excited.
It’s amazing how much happier I feel today! I even went shopping. I hate shopping. But I got a wee wireless mouse for my new Buke, and a new keyboard for my desktop. I needed it because the keys on the old one were sticking, and also I had worn the right half off the L key – which made it look like the semi-colon, which is not only my favourite punctuation mark but the key next to the L … so a lot of nonsense was getting typed. And! I found a wireless keyboard, thus eliminating another tentacular obstacle on my desk, as well as a keyboard that is back-lit! So now I can type without turning the lamp on at night, and that will reduce the complaints from my parrot roommate.
It’s hard to write deathless prose when an unseen gravelly monster’s baritone is muttering never shall be slaves, NEVER SHALL BE SLAVES next to your elbow.
Also, with a wireless keyboard, I can put the keyboard away in the cunning slide-out drawer that seems to have been made for it, but which it never fit on because it had a tethering cord. And that means I can hand-write in my lovely notebooks, with my glorious inks, right on my desk. So I did things with all that energy, and I did things that will let me do other and more things that require energy; and if all is not well with the world – it’s a lot better than it has been.
If I’d gotten my aged fundament in gear a month ago, I might have felt better, sooner. But you can’t summon beagle puppies out of thin air, Dear Readers; no, not though you may be ever so eager for a good run with them … So flewed, so sanded, and their heads are hung With ears that sweep away the morning dew, Crook-kneed, and dew-lapped like Thessalian bulls, Slow in pursuit, but matched in mouth like bells* …
Still, some mornings it’s an easy jog to that wood outside Athens. And oh! such a joy to spend the day there!
- Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare