Kage Baker did her best to work at her writing every single day. She had an unusually implacable work ethic, and succeeded at this goal much more than most people do. Especially writers.
Writers are notorious for failing to write. On one hand, they will often often labour at any other task, rather than sit down and commit their boiling thoughts to cool paper: it’s like inspiration is an all-body itch and they can’t sit still. On another hand, they can be distracted unwillingly by all manner of outre disasters – which, being writers, they cannot help but note and notice. And on the biggest hand of all, writers can suffer from the dreaded writer’s block.
Some unhappy writers claim to exist in a near-constant state of writer’s block, spending most of their time portaging painfully around the falls of clear flowing narration; living for the moments when they hit clear water and speed on for half a mile of creativity. That was not Kage’s problem – on the rare occasions when she succumbed to the block, a half hour of gardening solved it. Or an evening of brain storming. Or just driving off in any direction until she found her Muse thumbing for a ride on the roadside.
What usually got Kage was distraction. Ambient noise was a constant problem; she had inhuman hearing and could be derailed by nearly anything. My knitting too loudly (this is why I use wooden needles). Harry singing, which nothing on earth or under heaven will silence. Too many small domestic disasters – she could write unperturbed while I raced in an out of the house fighting a dryer fire or an invading possum: but the second time we ran out of ice, or if the toast burnt, Kage was tearing hair and rending garments.
Personally, I can get tossed off the rails by damn near anything. Kimberly has tried with all her considerable might and main to give me a safe place to work, and she’s largely succeeded. I still get taken down by – oh, anything. The weirder it is, the more likely I am to sit idly and stare at it in fascination, too. It’s part of being a writer at all – you are distractable by things sane people never even notice.
I didn’t write a blog this weekend, but that was, initially, on purpose. It’s been so hot and muggy I’ve been awake all night and spent the day asleep: too hot to write, too hot to do anything but read, pet the cat and drink iced coffee. I declared Saturday as a mental health day and lolled. Then on Sunday …
I woke up with 14 spider bits on my feet and legs; the venom makes me ill, and the damn things itch like a biblical plague. I kept somehow misplacing portions of my clean laundry in my (really very small) bedroom. I sat on my dismembered-for-repairs Kit Kat Klock. My keyboard, which is wireless and runs (when it feels like it) on batteries, began to slow down and commit speaking-in-tongues errors on my screen. Oh, and my deodorant melted. It really feels like the Universe is out to get you when your deodorant melts. You pull off the cap and then stand there with talcum-scented slime running down your hands, and realize that somewhere a huge god-sized middle finger is aimed at you.
I was awake until dawn. Luckily I’m re-reading Vinge’s Zones of Thought books, and the recliner is positioned between the standing fan and an open window … and the Maine Coon kitten/cat was in my lap. That’s comforting, but not conducive to work. You can read with a cat in your lap (though a Maine Coon is harder to manage than an average feline) but you cannot type on a tablet. Not in anything that looks like English, anyway. (The Maine Coon likes to help.)
Aaand it just went on today. A lost juvenile raccoon out in broad daylight found the squirrel feeder, and pretty much staked out the porch for the time it took her eat everything: hysterical cats AND squirrels ensued. My ISP disguise program blew its zap, reported me in London and refused to accept any of my incoming US email. I kept getting weather alerts for parts of England where I wasn’t. Two more spiders bit me. And my keyboard keeps freezing.
I made the mistake of looking at Facebook, too. Aaaargh, my eyes …
So, no stories tonight, Dear Readers. Tomorrow, there will stories and ideas and more exotic fruit and a long diagnostic session with the computer before I try to type at speed again.
No more distractions! Or at least, different, and less engrossing, ones.