The trouble with finishing something is just that — it’s finished. For the past three years I have had a purpose. A goal. A reason to pack up the laptop and sit all day at the Tik Talk Cafe. When people asked me what I was doing — I had a really good line (which has happened rarely in my life). My creative juices were bubbling (well, at least in retrospect). But then … I finished. C’est tout. Esta! That’s all folks!
I’m certainly not saying that Annie’s Odyssey couldn’t have used more tweaking, fine tuning. I could have gone on for a couple of more years changing words and eliminating commas. No…not really. I’m not that kind of a writer. It wasn’t that I was bored with it or anything like that. I just didn’t really see how I could have made it better — at least not at that moment. Is that sort of a copout? Was it the right time to end it? Yes, indeedy, it was! Even “experts”, like the intrepid editors, thought so. “It’s good! Go for it!”, they said. All heart-felt encouraging like. So, who was I to disagree. I called it finished.
I bravely sent it out on a brand-new odyssey into the scary world of publishers where rejections lurked. Would it be able to stay afloat on that rocky sea? Or would Annie’s Odyssey crash against an unfriendly, alien land where people didn’t understand it? I had taken some precautions before I let it go. As I hit the Send key on the laptop, I hummed, “Happy Trails to You Until We Meet Again…” Roy Rogers and Dale Evans taught me well how to say goodbye with hope. Now I have to sit and wait. Will Annie’s Odyssey fly or it will crash land in cyber space?? Tune in again, boys and girls, to see what happens!
But that’s then — in the future — and I’m in now. What am I going to write now?
That’s what the cats want to know.
They accuse me of malingering. Malingering? Where did they learn that word? I had to look it up: “To feign illness or other incapacity in order to avoid duty or work”. They smirk at the red-cast. “I am not a malingerer!” I try to sound indignant which seldom, if ever, works on cats.
I remind them that, hey, it’s not like I broke my arm on purpose. I knew that excuse was useless. If it didn’t work on my mother after I tripped my brother, it certainly wasn’t going to fly with the cats.
They chuckled at my attempt.
I changed my strategy. I pointed out to them that it was veeery interesting — not very funny but very interesting — that I broke my arm just two days after sending Annie’s Odyssey off on it’s debut? T-W-O D-A-Y-S — I hold up first one finger and then another for emphasis! Nothing from them. Yeah, I know they’re too young to know Laugh In. But I thought why not expose them to the humor of my youth. Perhaps, they would understand me better? Be more tolerant? Like that would ever happen with cats.
I pressed on. Don’t you think the muses of writing were saying to me, loud and clear, “Annie, take a break. You deserve it. This is a great opportunity to get to know your left hand better. Try it out on the remote. Watch more TV. Build up its strength so you can open screw-top wine bottles all by yourself. Play freecell on the left! These are life-survival lessons. You’re not wasting time”
Hah, they counter, that reasoning was Ok in Week One of The Broken Arm — but definitely not in Week Five! Get on with it, girl.
Sigh — they’re right, you know. I’d never tell them that, of course. I couldn’t live with their inflated-feline egos. They’d be so big I’d have to move out. Return only for feedings. And to scoop poop, of course.
To include them in the decision-making — they obviously are my most severe critics — I ask them if they have any bright ideas about what I should write about now. There’s oodles and oodles of possibilities I tell them — all of which make it almost impossible for me to think of a one. Surely, they could come with something. They just yawn and — with a magnificent Gallic-like disdain — turn their backs to me. I think it’s karmic retribution for all those times I ignored my mother when she’d ask — weary of deciding for too many years what to feed her family — ‘What should I cook for supper?” Silence was all she got from me too.
Well that’s that. The conversation’s over — which means I can go back to procrastinating — at least until they wake up.