Kiss a writer, get harpies

I’m always getting inspiration on what to write in the bathtub, but then I forget it until the next morning, and here I sit, all creaky in the attic, trying to remember those ideas that sprouted between lather and rinse. Maybe I should just go huddle in the empty tub with a notebook and let destiny take over.

Little leery of the conclusion to be drawn from the fact that my ideas spring universal from that area where the shitter is located, but hey… we all have our process, right?

My idea yesterday was: Very good reasons not to date a writer.

This is a really good reason right here. Do you really want to wake to some freak sitting in front of the computer, staring at the ceiling, muttering to herself and typing ‘famibialtilaithdl;akdfh’ to try and get their reeking slug of a mind into drive?

No. I mean, I don’t. Eccentrics are fun, but if you actually speak during this process, your writer love is going to look at you like you just threw a baby in the toilet. Their irritation at themselves for being a big dumb hickey-monkey will be projected onto you, and unreasonable questions will be raised like, “Do you hafta breathe so loud?”

The process. Most writers are in love with their work, but they look like they hate it. They are irritable and antisocial and distracted while it’s happening. The brow furrows, the nose wrinkles, there is a ‘tap, tap, tap’ of pen on desk, or thumb on keys that seems ominous in between a rabble-rousing clatter of inspired type work. This would signal to a normal person that things are going well, but in 11 minutes when they read this passage over they are going to hate it, hate themselves, hate the fucking cat, hate the word ‘delirious’ and hate you, if you make some squeak or motion that requires them to acknowledge your presence.

Writers are a real picnic.

I remember kneeling against our ottoman in college, composing a very poignant, profound love sentiment to my then boyfriend for Valentine’s Day. He came into the room and started talking to me, and I grew angry, “I”m TRYING to write you a fucking LOVE-LETTER, but if you’d rather, you know, have a conversation… Great. Let’s do that. Let’s talk about freakin’ dinner, that’s *way* more important than whatever I’m doing here.”

I balled the paper up and threw it in the garbage. He looked stunned. He looked how I imagine Steve Irwin looked when that ray bobbed him in the heart. For one second there had to be that you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me-look… “I’ve wrestled with crocs, man-handled cobras, double-dared rhinos, and THIS is how it’s gonna end?”

I did eventually fish my beautiful sentiment out of the garbage again. He insisted that I give him the original version, all crinkled up and scribbled in the middle from the temper tantrum. I guess that’s romantic…

No. It’s just weird.

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7 thoughts on “Kiss a writer, get harpies

  1. hehe…nice post. It’s so true for me too… I get so horribly disturbed when I am writing, its just weird.
    Esp. if I get a ring on my cellphone.

    …and even I get loads of ideas while in a shower! Or just when I am about to go off to sleep. Or just when I don’t have my notebook with me and I am sitting somewhere like a cafe…

    And most of the times I end up forgetting them as if I have been brainwashed.

  2. All my best writing happens at about just gone midnight, which is why mid-week, I rapidly face a choice between blogging more or breaking my office computer as I exhaustedly loll my head through the monitor.

    Thankfully half a living room, a staircase, a landing and a thick solid door separate my incessant tappity-tapping from my sleeping wife.

  3. I read this earlier today and thought I left a comment, but I can’t remember what it is I said.

    My best writing happens in the middle of the night when I have insomnia. I’m usually too lazy to get out of bed even though I’m not sleeping so I lie there and think up great thoughts and witty things to write. By morning all those good thoughts and witty things have all disappeared to wherever inspiration goes when the sun comes up.

    I understand that kind of reaction. I get that way when I’m focused on something creative that is important to me.

  4. A few thoughts. “Writers are a real picnic.” Always the ants, and the wasps, don’t we have houses so we can eat inside?

    One bad thing about hanging with a writer is that you are going to have some horrible experience and be telling them about it and they are going “that would be such a cool story”. Or even some melodramatic but important relationship fight becomes “how would I write this up?”

    The worst is not being able to write a sentence on a greeting card (because I refuse to buy one with a sentiment in place) without agonizing for 30 minutes. Seems worse than writing stories.

  5. well, I find the best ideas occur during conversations, when you’re on a roll and flowing. Then later, I remember the basic idea and put it on my list of things to write about. Finally, I reconstruct the idea so other people can a) see it and b) understand it. Perhaps even c) find it funny.

    But yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if in some crazy language “writing” means the same as “self-loathing”.

  6. narziss-It’s weird, isn’t it? Something about intention, I donno. When I’m not looking for ideas it’s like the brain opens up and they come flooding from all directions.

    Ed- A buffer zone really *is* convenient, be it for marital bliss or just public safety from the writing process. Heh. I wonder if other writers are similar to myself in that, from a very young age, I always needed to spend a portion of time in ‘my own space’. This in sharp contrast to my step-siblings who, like a litter of puppies that grow despondent when separated, seemed to require wriggling human companionship at all times or they’d lapse into heart-breaking lethargy.

    Robin- You know, WordPress has had a few weirdnesses with commenting lately. I checked the moderation queue, but nothing there. The middle of the night thing has happened to me often enough that I keep a notebook beside my bed now. Course, you scribble off the ideas in the dark, and the next morning tryin to read the squiggles is another story. Also, the ideas that made such sense at 2am can be really puzzling by the light of day. “Scuba Diving Goats? Oedipus Rex in The Flintsones? Wtf was I drinking last night?”

    aos- No, dammit. You come out here and enjoy the honeybees before they go completely extinct. ;)

    There’s a short story by David Sedaris about that exact scenario, I’ll try and find it for you. Great read. That agonizing thing, definitely. Also, the vocabulary can be a liability. You know how when you break up with someone it’s often hard to find the right words to describe your disappointment, your loathing and your disgust? Writer’s rarely have any trouble expressing that.

    dashofpanache- well, taking your latest entry into account, I’d say your process works pretty damn well.

    handward- I laugh when you write things, too. I think you have a gift for that.

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