I was listening to the Diane Rehm show on NPR yesterday and heard one of my favorite if not often thought-of quotes by sportswriter Red Smith: “There’s nothing to writing. You just sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”
Ain’t it the truth? I like to say that I’ve sweated out all my blood over Beloved Hubby and his continuing health problems, because when I open a vein lately, nothing comes out. Joking aside, it causes me great agony and despair that I can’t whip up the will to do what needs to be done. I have a bad attitude. When Don was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago, I was able to do a little scribbling, but since he’s been home I literally sit at my desk for an hour staring at a pad of paper, or at the computer with my fingers poised over the keyboard, and … nothing. It’s not even that I can’t think of anything to write. I am always writing in my head, and have done for as far back as I can remember.
I use myself up on the meal preparation, laundry, chores, errands, doctor appointments, dressing changes. I bought myself a carpet steamer and all I want to do is clean carpets (which believe me is tough work). Or clean something else, or garden or dust or cook. Brawny tasks which take only muscle and no opening of veins.
What is it? I have author friends who have full time jobs and small children and broken arms and still manage to pound out their thousand words a day. And one of the main tenants of writing that I propound when I teach a class is that it doesn’t matter whether you feel like it or not, you just do it. If what you write is drivel, keep going, and you will eventually attract the attention of the muses.
Anybody can have a good idea for a novel. It’s putting it on paper in a compelling way that makes a writer.
Okay, I’ve inspired myself to try again. Hand me the scalpel.
Husband update for those who have been following this saga:
We spent a good part of Wednesday at the wound clinic. The wound doctor told Don that he has a stitch in there that hasn’t dissolved and seems to be irritating the tissue. But he’s going to let the surgeon decide when to take it out. They gave us some silver alginate-infused dressing for it, so I’m back to poking dressings into holes in Don’s belly on regular occasions.Fortunately, the hole is a lot smaller than last time and the dressing doesn’t need changing but three times a week. We’re back to the surgeon next Thursday, and the wound clinic in three weeks.