Just Hanging Around


I had an idea for this column written on a slip of paper, but I’ve misplaced it. Here’s what I suggest so you won’t lose yours:


When the dog barks at 3a.m: Prop your eyes open and light a candle. Grope for something to write on from your bedside table such as a party invitation or an eviction notice, and jot down your precious thoughts.

            Then file your notes in your pillowcase, pocket, or the blender. 

The important thing is those precious papers are safe.


For the great American novel you’re working on: The scribbled pages can be taped to your walls so you can view the whole mess at once.  You can start with a ladder in one room, and then move down the halls.

In the kitchen, continue pasting and taping your pages to the outside of cupboards and the refrigerator. Climb up high and tape some to the ceiling. Obtain a scaffold and lie on your back. Fool everyone by looking like Michelangelo decorating the Sistine Chapel.


Continue pasting pages through the dining room over windows and doors, and around the living room. Mercilessly scotch tape your great American novel right over paintings. Bye-bye, Guernica. 


The bathrooms provide fair game for taping.  Floor to ceiling and up the shower walls you go with your brilliant novel. Pretty soon you have a book starting to take shape instead of a pile of unmanageable papers. You may not get to shower, but Ode to Joy, you have every page where you want it.

If your friends hold their noses around you and sniff, you say, “I’m a writer, I don’t act like an ordinary person.”


            Warning: I do not encourage you to attach pages of your book to the outside of your house.  I tried this once and the wind came up and blew part of my story into the neighbor’s yard.  He published a similar novel to mine before I could say, “Whoa, Buster.”


            Now you ask, “Once the novel is pasted up inside the house, what about typing the manuscript?”  

You wonder if you should walk around wearing a harness and a tray carrying your laptop? Yes, if your getup has a martini holder.


            Write shorter pieces I confess taping the pages of my novel on the ceiling and walls of my house may explain why I stick to shorter pieces which can be completed in a few hours and published in newspapers or national syndicates, rather than finishing the great American novel which decorates my walls and ceilings.

            And by the way, if you want to read my novel--and who could blame you?—come over to my house quickly because the painters are coming and I have to take it down, and who knows what might happen then?


For now, this is what you get to read--brilliant advice on filing your papers and sage information to inhale with your coffee. Consider it a gift from me.