It is a pleasant afternoon. We have those often in the Himalayas. I sit down to write.
My wife – a psychologist and mentor – is on the phone coaching a counsellor about something that sounds rather juicy. She notices my attentive eavesdropping and leaves the room. I turn back to writing.
I am short of my daily target of words to finish my novel. Yesterday, the words just flowed. Not today. A Facebook alert pops up on my screen. I stare at the intrusion. A reflective brain thinks but a reflexive finger clicks faster. Almost subconsciously, I am chatting with some obscure acquaintance. I learn that her daughter has colored her hair blue. And she wants a place in the mountains. But with a/c – mainly for her heat sensitive pet. At 6200 ft, I don’t even have fans in my house. I end the chat.
I scroll Fb. Brexit update. So now EU sounds like Ewww? See the cute puppies video. Get the latest Trump news – what’s wrong with America? See Dipa Karmakar’s vault – again. Indian sports history will remember her posterior for posterity. What a touching moment. “Mat finish” says one part of my mind. “No empathy” says another. Sigh! Politics and Religious fundamentalism bait me into pointless rants. Full of wisdom, I resist and shutdown Fb.
Bloody time thief.
Alone, I focus. Still no words.
I think of creative ways to unblock. Vaastu? I turn my chair to face south instead of west south west. The vacuum continues. I put on a hat – maybe that will focus the thoughts. Nah. I put on my full-face motorcycling helmet. Still nothing.
Maybe a cup of tea will help?
I put the electric kettle on. The power fails. “Should’ve picked a village with full power backup.” I chuckle and grumble.
I transfer the water to a pan and set it on the gas stove. Waiting for the water to boil I vacantly look outside. The kids have left a bike out, and it is cloudy. Might rain.
Still helmeted, I step out and move the bike to the store. Our store has two rooms. I have intended to make one into a writing room for a long time, to stay away from the distractions in the house. I look around at the mess and see some books that I was intending to give away. I set the bike down, pick up one of the books and leaf through it. Turning the fourth page I find a royalty cheque of 46 rupees from my first book. It is dated January. Sheesh, what a waste! I wish I was better organized.
Just then Munni – who thinks I am goofy anyway – walks in and asks why an empty pan is on the gas. She sees me in my helmet and runs away. I run after her – but to the kitchen. The steel pan looks like a rainbow on steroids, with colors ranging from rosy pink to burnt black.
I kill the flame, remove the helmet, and step out to find Munni peering at me from behind a tree. Non-chalantly, I ask her to make me some tea. I return to my writing and take a deep breath. Just then the door opens – both my kids are back from school …
(As a full-time writer, I know writing is hard. Starting a book is daunting. Keeping it going even more so. Daunting enough to ignore, avoid, not put on to-do lists. Or only put on to-do lists.
That is why my friend Roy and I are doing the writing retreat. We understand. We hope the retreat will keep you – and us – on track and fill the world with more high-quality books.
To learn more about the retreat check out https://uncityblog.wordpress.com/retreat/ .)