Fighting the Tug

Writing is mental, and so when your mind is tugged between various concerns, working on that novel becomes difficult.

My 90-year-old father-in-law has a serious case of the flu … birthed, he claims, because he got cold when he rode the bus to Champaign to spend Christmas week with us. Never mind that he arrived in a windbreaker and refused to accept the loan of a winter jacket for the bus ride back. The flu’s a bad thing for a 90-year-old.

My friend badly broke her arm and had surgery today.

My old Dawn Patrol buddy, Al, died. Al was a very good guy. I liked playing at his table.

And so I think about all these things which make crafting fiction onerous. My fellow writers dwell on their own “tugs” and do battle at the keyboard too.

We all try to relegate our sad concerns to a corner of our mind so we can write. Can’t let the tugs win, you know.

It’s difficult. But you can’t ever let the tugs win. You can let them give you a headache, and for me I’ll take some aspirin and an extra tennis-ball tossing session this afternoon to fight them off.

I managed to set my tugs aside long enough to finish Chapter 5 in my next Piper Blackwell book. Just now. And I will finish Chapter 6 before I consider calling my W-I-P done for the day. Then the tugs can take over and I’ll sit in front of my fireplace with a bottle of ice water and maybe watch George Peppard in The Blue Max in honor of Al.

My greatest tug these past many weeks has been Jake, the bottomless gullet that filled up the hollow spot under my writing desk, crawled into my lap during football games, and ruined my new Birkenstock sandals. Well … to be fair, he only ruined the left one. He broke my favorite teapot in an effort to reach something edible on the counter. And he broke my heart when he died.

Right now I’m drinking tea out of a BIG ceramic mug that has a similar capacity to that teapot.

That’s how I’m besting the tug today. Tea. Started with Irish Breakfast, moved to PG Tips, and right now I’m having hot cinnamon spice. Fuels my fingers. Keeps the tug at bay. Tastes good.

I put a bottle of cherry wine in the refrigerator. I think I’ll have some of that tonight instead of ice water. A toast to absent friends.

Al.

Jake.

Then onto Chapter 7.

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