A Day in the Life of a Slave to the Muse

January 21, 2008 at 1:36 am (Uncategorized)

What a difference a day makes, eh?! Here’s my explanation for the two missing posts at the end of last week: I had a great day Thursday, and a lousy one Friday. They were the two sides of a coin, the grass on either side of the fence, the yin and the yang. A perfectly balanced relationship; a harmonious whole. Good and bad – isn’t the relationship between the two, and how we respond to each, what living is all about? I think so. After all, no one is spared the bad, and no one fails to recognise and embrace the good. They’re like my left and right feet, always working together if I’m to make any progress at all.

So Thursday was my good day. I had such a positive day’s work on my redraft that I felt a minor level of internal euphoria at the end of it. I was really buzzing on the inside. I worked really well, with the kind of intense concentration that I’d bottle for the bad days if I could. There are those rare, so sweet days when it simply happens for me, and last Thursday was one of them. The words arrived, and it was thrilling, too thrilling for me to even consider risking a pause in order to create a post. I was in the zone, and that’s where I was staying, riding it out to the last.

Friday I awoke rearing to get back into it, very eager to make the mood last as long as I could. Perhaps the muse hadn’t noticed the night – perhaps I could get away with the start of a new day as though it was the unbroken continuation of the day before… Perhaps. But as usual the muse had other ideas. My day began with a dead computer. It showed absolutely no signs of life, as though it had expired, spent, after the labours of my perfect Thursday. I called Llew in a sick panic.

“My computer’s dead,” I cried. “I pressed the space bar and all the lights went dark and now it’s not moving or making a sound.”

Llew took a few minutes to catch up, then said “Oh, I think that’s maybe my fault.”

What did you do?” I screeched, banshee like.

“I turned everything off at the wall.”

Ie. Instead of switching off individual lights, or flicking them off on the power-board, Llew’s beloved shortcut in a 5 second task is turning off the power-board at the switch, thus affecting everything connected to it in one fell swoop, including my printer and computer. My computer, left on after the excitements of the day, thus reverted to battery power, and ran through the night, eventually packing it in the first nudge I gave it.

“I’ve told you about that,” I seethed. “I’ve asked you not to do that. Why do you insist on doing that? Now my computer’s as dead as a doornail and I can’t work.”

“Bye,” Llew said.

I corrected the situation at the offending power source and left my computer to recharge. I decided to do some reading whilst I was awaiting its recovery, and as I set about making myself comfortable in the sunroom, I promptly dropped my mobile into a steaming mug of fresh coffee.

“FUCK!” I shouted. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!”

Coffee is everywhere. All over my book, all over the ottoman, all over the tiles, and all through my dripping mobile, which went dark in an instant just as my computer had the moment it was touched by a human hand. Mine.

I cursed my way into the kitchen and pulled my phone apart, swearing some more. I washed off the coffee and left my phone in little pieces strewn across the bench. I was suddenly as cut off as a prisoner locked in an isolation chamber. No phone, no computer. Perfect, I thought. What I need is a flagpole or a fucking semaphore. I looked longingly at my computer and stroked its cold, dead keys a couple of times. No dice.

I wanted to rant at Llew some more, just to make human contact, so I took some coins from the bowl and went to cross the road to the beach to make the call at the phone box. On the zebra crossing, once I was committed and already halfway across, a woman in her big fucking obnoxious 4WD actually accelerated and very nearly ran me over.

“FUUUUUUUUCK!!!!!!!!!!!” I screamed. “Fuck, fuck, fuck! What the FUCK is wrong with you?!”

She’d sped off to continue her life of absolute entitlement, but the guy in the car opposite rolled down his window and said “Jesus, are you all right?” We tsked and tutted and spread our hands in disbelief at the number of RAGING ARSEHOLES who drive those big, black cars, and then I staggered over to the phone box to make my call.

The coin slot wouldn’t open.

INSERT PHONE CARD, the screen said. I held the lifeless receiver in my hand and for a long moment considered vandalising the box to the absolute best of my violent and creative ability. Then I quietly swore some more and replaced it before returning home (looking both ways – not that it saved me the last time) to pretend this day was not happening.

A doctor’s appointment at midday guaranteed the good times would keep rolling. My doctor wasn’t there, and the locum said I needed an ultrasound. Afterwards, I went and bought my moisturiser from a local supplier. When I got it home and removed the tube from its box, I saw it had already been used, a deep thumb print pressed against its side. Nice, I thought. This day is a gift that won’t quit.

As ultrasound preparation, I had to drink a litre of water between 2:30 and 3pm. Then I wasn’t allowed to go to the toilet until after my 4 o’clock ultrasound. This would have been okay, except they were running late. I sat in the waiting room crossing and uncrossing my legs for an increasingly desperate and painful 45 extra minutes. When they called my name at last, I jumped up and announced to the entire room “Oh thank God, I am about to wet my pants.”

After my external and – boy, when your ship’s in, it’s in – internal ultrasound examination, I walked home in the pouring rain. I had an umbrella, but I resisted using it until really only 100 metres or so from my place, when I really started to take a pounding on the beachfront. As I slid it open, it sliced right across my index finger, which began to bleed profusely.

“That’s it,” I said. “I’m done.”

I retreated to the couch with my book (Harry Potter is a children’s series, people. Now I’ve read one, I can categorically confirm it’s for kids – I’m still not sure why it proved such a hit beyond its target readership because it’s not even sophisticated children’s fiction. But it was perfect for Friday), Vanity Fair and a chick flick. Llew tended to my every whim for the rest of evening, whilst I admitted utter defeat. The muse had changed direction for the day, and any resistance was futile.


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