Friday, 22 March 2013

Portrait of a Writer at Home

One of the advantages of retiring from my day job to write is that I have the convenience of working at home. No 45-minute commute; no waiting in traffic on the Queensway; no stuck buses or fender-benders to negotiate; no parking lots to subsidize. I get my coffee, fire up the computer, and I'm ready to go.

Okay, let's back up again. A few hurdles here to negotiate. One of my cats is outside clawing at the window and demanding to be let in. I get up to let her in. I start to sit down again, and another cat has taken my seat. I negotiate with him (usually Sammy) to move. Then my dog Cody gets one of his three hundred chew toys and starts flicking it at my ankle to remind me that it's play-time. I toss a few obligatory rounds of the chew toy, and then try to talk him into settling down. I reach for my coffee, but it's already cold. I get up to nuke it in the microwave, and when I come back my chair has been confiscated again. Sigh!

Sammy has now been removed to his basket in the sun, and I'm ready to start again. I'll spend a few minutes on e-mail and Twitter before I start writing. Shouldn't be too long.

Two hours and many e-mails and retweets later, I'm ready to go. I happen to glance up and register the fact that there's a new ten centimetres of snow outside to shovel because the snowblower still isn't fixed. My wife appears, all bundled up for the Arctic, to remind me that we should go shovel it before it gets too wet and heavy to move. She smiles ruefully at me and says: “I bet Stephen King doesn't have to shovel his own driveway.”

I'm back now after shovelling, a shower, and a late lunch. Better start working. Phone rings. I pick it up without checking caller ID and then spend five minutes convincing someone that I don't need additional accident insurance even if it does cover every bone in my body.

I'm ready to work now, but I've lost my train of thought. What was I working on?

I look up again at the window and there's a squirrel standing on the railing of our porch eating bird feed that's been spilled from the feeder by overanxious birds. Oh, what the heck. I grab the camera and proceed to make a squirrel video. It'll never make YouTube, but my wife will love it.

Some days are more productive than others, I remind myself.

Besides, there is always this evening. . .


  1. Oh the joys of distraction! I'm not a novelist but I do wonder where all the time went since I retired. I'm not doing anywhere near as much creative stuff as I promised myself, but I am enjoying life. Sometimes we have to weigh the balance of the simple pleasures, like squirrel-watching,against the rewards of several hundred words before lunch. Good luck.

  2. Ah, these are the days.

    Reminds me of Donovan's "Retired Writer in the Sun"


    1. These are, indeed, the days, Michael. They took their time coming!