I would have. Really. I have a great idea and I even started on it about a month ago after I got canned from my job. (Please donít tell the Unemployment Office, because they might dock me for self-employment.) I wrote a few pages on the computer, but then the sound of the fan ó that relentless mechanical shriek ó made me stop. Then I wrote some pages longhand, but I ended up with so many cross-outs and arrows that I couldnít read it.
Then there was the man in my bathroom. Just try doing your morning ablutions with a tile guy three inches away renovating the apartment on the other side of your wall. Bathroom rituals and writing go hand in hand, so no way could I write the great American novel last week.
I would have written after the workmen left for the day, but I had to spend time being angry at Bernie Madoff and all those guys on Wall Street who took million dollar bonuses. Then I had to worry about finding a job because I donít have a million dollars because thatís what the Unemployment Office says Iím supposed to be doing. (Damn that Unemployment Office!)
Then I had to worry about what might happen if I donít find a job, and thatís when I thought, wow, what if I got a surprise phone call from the MacArthur Foundation naming me a genius? After all, if I concentrate on it like they say in The Secret, thatís a real possibility. And concentrating took up so much time, how could I be expected to write?
After I got done concentrating on my MacArthur grant, I had to lie down on my couch and think about eating to restore my energy: to cook soup or make a salad; or perhaps to buy fixings for soup and salad. And by the time I was finished thinking about those things, my goodness, it was time to walk my dog. So I just didnít have time to write.
Then I discovered that the reason my new state-of-the-recession cost-saving magicJack phone connection made everybody sound as if they were speaking with a vibrato from the bottom of a well is not that the gadget is inherently bad; itís that it was drooping. Itís a heavy little thing, and its girth caused it to slant coming out of the USB port in my computer. I propped its fat chrome housing up with my little Swingline stapler that Iíve had since I was 12, and suddenly the connection was so clear that I had to make amends by telephoning all the people Iíd complained to.
And thatís why I didnít write the great American novel last week.
Maybe this week.