Scriptus Interruptus

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Something I wrote many years ago about the difficulty of combining writing with looking after a small child. The child is now grown up – the novel is still unwritten!  

She writes the first three lines of her novel,
her magnum opus, Booker prize material at the very least
Its Nobel phrases ring across the world.
Then the baby cries.
She feeds the brat, burps him, changes a nappy.
Making, meanwhile, a few mental notes about Shit:
its colour, consistency, smell, feel, and how babies manage to produce so much
when all they consume is milk.
Then back to her novel,
her magnum opus. Ten pages done, four hundred and ninety to go.
She meets her protagonist, hears him speak
knows he likes cheese, can’t stand muesli
and keeps his socks on in bed.
The doorbell rings.
She fumbles for her purse to pay the milk,
chat about the weather, the state of the country,
and no, we’re not going on holiday this year.
Images of idyllic seaside retreats, deck-chairs,
imagined sand and wide empty stretches of time.
Back at last to the book. Sets herself a goal
– a thousand words before elevenses.
Fingers rattle on keys, pages pile beside her feet,
dialogue snakes down the page
The phone trills
She grunts “Hello”
a smiling girlish voice,
extolling double-glazing and the bargain price
on offer this week only, is told
to go to Hell and sell her bargains there.
Back to the desk. Another page or four
a word-count – that all? not more?
disappointment seeps in, at nine hundred words
she stops for coffee
at nine hundred and two words
she stops………………………………………………….. for good.

ESME

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