Best Time to Write?
Eddie Says – Break the Rules!
By Robert J. Wetherall
“Any time is the best time for writing,” so celebrated writer, welder, and my close friend, Eddie Salinski, proclaimed one Sunday when I found him at home in his trailer. I had brought up the subject of creative timing after I developed a profound case of writer’s block. It was only natural that I seek sage advice from Eddie, as he has seen practically everything there is to see in the ups and downs of writing.
Eddie was busy giving his pet raccoon, Petey, a bath in an old galvanized wash basin. The poor little beastie looked at me with his sad burglar-in-the-night eyes, as if imploring me to free him from the realm of soapy water and let him return to his usual resting place atop his master’s bed.
“You gotta realize,” Eddie said, vigorously lathering the top-knot on Petey’s head, “when the muse strikes, you go with it, no matter what the clock in the kitchen says. Hell, I get my best ideas about two in the morning, usually after a bad dinner. All kinds of wild and woolly stuff pops into my head – most of it sheer crap, but worthy of being sorted out when I get up. Of course, I usually forget a lot, but more often than not, I’ll remember a little jewel, just a little sparkling thing that I can use to goose up a scene or two.
“And forget that stuff about writer’s block. No such thing. Just grab that cheap laptop of yours and start pounding away. Like a good BM, you’ll start loosening up, and before you know it, that so-called block is history.”
Eddie picked up Petey and a thick towel and began rubbing the two together like he was trying to light a fire. Petey’s little paws flailed this way and that as Eddie tousled his furry friend to a fair-thee-well.
“Sometimes I like to just sit myself down and start writing, not knowing where I’m going or why I’m going there. That’s when it’s really fun, when you find yourself drifting into all kinds of unexpected places. Kinda like Alice in Wonderland. My best stuff comes when I can’t tell you how or why I got there.”
“But that’s your style,” I said. “It probably wouldn’t work for me or anyone else.”
“Jeez,” he exclaimed, “don’t take everything I say so literally. Get with the concept, Bobbo.”
“What about all those writers who have certain personal writing rules, who get up every morning and, like clockwork, write from seven ‘til noon, and never miss a day?”
He kind of shook Petey as if he were going to hang the little guy out to dry, but the raccoon, all fluffed up and cute as the dickens, squirmed loose and jumped onto the nearby bed. The raccoon looked at us suspiciously with his little brown bandit eyes and promptly fell asleep.
“Another thing,” Eddie said, dumping the wash basin in the front yard, “you don’t have to be around the house to write. Be mobile. Put that idea down inside your damn head. Carry it around for a while. Tinker and toy with it. Bounce it around a little. Squeeze it like Charmin. You’ll have a lot more fun that way. Then, when it’s convenient, slam it into the old Magic Box.”
Eddie glanced over at Petey. “Christ almighty, he’s on my pillow again. He knows better.” He gently lifted the sleepy raccoon and placed him at the foot of the bed.
“Rules,” he said.
Robert J. Wetherall
Last Flight Home
The Making of Bernie Trumble
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