All work and no play…

Oh no – it’s The Shining – I swear…

I am sitting in my little office and the door is closed – but I hear children making noises, dogs barking, cars passing by and a party going on next door – with so many little distractions I can’t get a single word out of my head and onto the page.

I run a hand over my face and head – I haven’t shaven in days and my hair is long and messy, and I am eating irregularly… I am not feeling myself.

The sun has set and my computer is the only source of light and warmth. I’m hunched over the monitor like a man caught in a blizzard… struggling to survive the fierce elements. A line of dialogue suddenly sparks my imagination and I return to my seat, crack my knuckles and begin typing – but the words do not fit the book: I realise I have written out a shopping list. WHY?

I have been alone too long – this office is definitely too small – maybe the walls are closing in. I make my way to the door. The screen monitor blackens and the room becomes dark. My fire is dying – I can’t let that happen. I rush over to shake the mouse furiously and pray that it wasn’t a power cut. The screen brightens and heat returns, and the tower begins to whir and hum, playing that monotone song I find so damned intrusive… WMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

I strike the SAVE icon – twice to ensure I have done it right – a third time to be absolutely positive my document is safe. I close the document and hold my breath – I open it and – YES! – nothing has changed.

But wasn’t that the problem to begin with?

Someone knocks at my door but I ignore it – I pretend I’m not here. They inform me that tea is ready but I am not hungry… I only want to get off this page and move onto the next, but I am all out of words. I grab my pad and paper and jot down a list of ideas – but at a glance I realise I have written out that stupid shopping list again. WHY?

My coffee is half-finished and cold – how did that happen? What time is it? I feel like a cigarette – but I don’t smoke… and that stupid page is still up on the screen, teasing me that it will never leave until I change that one line of dialogue that slows the pace of the story. But maybe I don’t want to change it – maybe I like it… but it reads funny… HA! HA! HA! No – not that kind of funny, but a shopping list kind of funny – a sad kind of funny…

WMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM… I hate that song now. I shut the computer down and rub my tired eyes – it’s time to return to reality.

I struggle to walk away but the door opens and the smell of food arouses my appetite and my son rushes up to hug me, and my wife greets me with a warm smile and asks how my project is going.

I turn and smile, and reply – ‘We need to get laundry powder and corn flakes.’

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