I had originally planned to post a piece concerning my friend’s journey with Sarcoidosis, but an issue with the file has forced me to postpone it. So instead, I’m posting a silly little piece that I entered into a writing contest sponsored by Rave Reviews Book Club a few months ago. It was the first time I’d ever entered a writing contest, and I had absolutely no clue what I was doing, but it sure was fun. I hope you enjoy this little story.
A writer’s mind is always on, spotting potential characters and plot lines in everyday activities and personal interactions. Therefore, a day in the life of a writer is often filled with magic; with the creation of worlds, the laying of roads to be traveled, and the intimate dance between writer and character that will (hopefully) leave a reader reluctantly closing the cover and desperately wanting more.
I’ve had a few of those days, but I wanted to share a day from my past that was not quite so…noble. The one that my roommate, my son, and I will always remember as ‘urp day’.
Several years ago, I decided to self publish my first novel in paperback, and they foolishly agreed to help me, regretting their offer almost immediately. To this day, my roomie practically breaks out in hives whenever that little project is mentioned, while my son refuses to discuss it at all.
The text had already been formatted, so on that day it needed only to be printed and handed over to my two person assembly crew, whose job was to cut the pages and assemble the individual books.
I usually tried to start each day with a devout prayer to the printer gods, because no one had bothered to tell my HP Laserjet that it was a new machine and consequently, should not jam. As a result, if I didn’t do at least one brisk skip around my computer area while clapping my hands and singing a few off-key lines of Take on me, I was sure to spend the rest of the day picking torn bits of paper from the bowels of my printer with a pair of eyebrow tweezers. I invented a whole new range of profanities before the printing phase was done, let me tell you.
On that day, I was at the computer, doing last minute touch-ups to the text before clicking print, and Sharon and James were in the living room, cutting the pages and laying the books out in rows of five. We were running behind schedule, and I had forgone my printer dance, thinking that it couldn’t possibly matter. And it probably didn’t. I just know that by noon I’d had half a dozen paper jams, the last of them requiring a trip to the printer doc for a minor procedure called a cash transplant, in which twenty-five dollars was removed from my pocket and inserted into his. I wish that I’d had a camera that day so that I could have immortalized the ineptitude in action that resulted from two tired old fat girls and one idiot boy trying to load a bulky, oversized machine that weighed about at much as the average Volkswagon into a back seat that had not been designed to hold anything larger than a six-pack.
Back home again, I picked up where I’d left off, printing about fifty pages at a time so as not to get too far ahead of my worker bees. They were beginning to mumble some sort of foolishness about ‘lunch’ but I wasn’t listening. The printer was working without too many complaints, and I wanted to keep going as long as it would let me.
About that time, my cat decided to jump onto my lap. I don’t know how many of you have typed around a cat, but it requires the ability to type your own text while simultaneously correcting the cat’s attempts to help, which Silme’ did by either walking or laying on the keyboard. I moved him away three or four times, set him on the floor at least twice, and finally gave him a ball that could be opened and filled with nip. How was I to know that the little addict would pry open the ball and eat every bit of the product inside? He was gone for a little while, and I thought that he’d been adequately distracted. Suddenly, he fell from the ceiling, as cats often do, and landed on top of the monitor enclosure. I should have seen the combination of his glazed eyes and the cobra-like sway of his body for the warning that it was, but I was focused on my book and nothing else was registering. I did hear Sharon say the he looked a little goofy, but by then it was too late.
A little vomit on top of the enclosure would have been a small thing; a paper towel would have made it a memory in less than a minute. But Silme’ never did anything ‘small’. He projectile vomited a mixture of partially digested food, mixed with the contents of one fully packed nip ball, directly onto my keyboard. Urp day was born, and the work day came to a very abrupt end.