I should be doing something else…

I’m only here because I should be doing something else. And there you have it, the blog about procrastination has eaten itself.  I’m supposed to be writing. Not a blog post, either. On January 1st, I resolved to submit four stories a month and I’m struggling in June to submit one.  The anti writing gremlins are still staying with me, and as they’ve been here a month, they’re getting somewhat tiresome.  They are little worms burrowing into my brain, with their negativity. Much like the person, who having kindly given me a top, size Medium, looked at me wearing it and said, “I should have got you the Large.”  The AWG’s have the same effect on my self esteem when they whisper “You’ve read David Mitchell, haven’t you? Hilary Mantel? What are you still doing with a pen in your hand? What makes you think you have any chance with this writing lark? Give up now, loser…” etc etc “Oh, and by the way, you are too old and fat to wear sleeveless tops.”

Not only the writing worms are saying this to me, but an actual editor too. Yes, the one I spent all my time creating a pen name for, rather than concentrating on writing a decent story.  A polite letter arrived with the killer sentence –  “we felt the story line was a little too weak to hold the reader’s interest.”  Arggh! Stab me in the heart with a fountain pen, why don’t you?

But you know what? This feedback, like all the other critiques and comments I have received over the past couple of years, makes me think that editors are really rather good at their job. Without fail they manage to pin point, far more accurately and succinctly than I can, what I’ve been vaguely feeling is wrong with my story.

A story may be weak, but it is never dead.  And this one’s still got a chance of life.  I’m planning to turn it into a flash fiction.  In the spirit of rallying my writing reserves and getting some work out into the public domain, here is one I prepared earlier.  My first ever piece of flash fiction, it was placed third in Flash Fiction World’s March 2013 competition.  Read it herehttp://www.flash-fiction-world.com/going-back-to-frank.html

 

Procrantination

I had been studiously reading the newspaper while eating lunch. Doing two things at once. Very efficient.  Getting up to embark on my next task – yep, I was going to do some writing, having managed to avoid it all morning – I replaced the paper on the coffee table. Out of the corner of my eye it looked like the wood grain was fluid; the table no longer solid. Not me losing the plot. It turned out to be a mass of busy ants hurrying between the papers, tissue box and remote controls that hang about on there.  Further examination revealed many more milling about on the carpet and mountaineering up the table legs.

Not being an avid housekeeper, cleaning rarely makes it onto my to do list. As soon as it’s done you have to start again, much like gardening and decorating.  Best just to let a certain fuzzy sludginess build up, I find. Although, if people are coming to stay, I do actually shift the need to clean up to the top of my list and get round to doing (most/some of) it. In acknowledgment of my general lack of housewifely qualities, I had chosen a neutral (okay, dust coloured) carpet with flecks in it, including, rather cleverly I thought at the time, black flecks, to disguise the black sock fluff that gets everywhere since everyone in the household now wears black socks. Because the winter has gone on and on, and we’re all still wearing socks in June, there’s more sock related fluff than ever, providing ample camouflage on ant day.

It takes quite a long time to catch ants. Perfect procrastination for a Monday afternoon. Once you remove one from its path the others get giddy and gad off in all directions.  In the end, I gave up on being humane and was down on my hands and knees with the sticky roller used to remove ginger cat hairs from dark clothes, and on occasion from the cat himself. (He seems to enjoy it; perhaps I could set up a cat spa.)

Cat and Carpet

Cat and Carpet

Anyway, the roller was also very effective at catching ants, although perhaps cruel.  I felt like I’d committed genocide, and of such an industrious and non-procrastinatory species. They do just get on with it, ants, don’t they?

I suppose my sticky clothes roller approach to ant catching is a more modern, handheld version of my grandfather’s method of dealing with the same problem.  He used to tie sticky paper round the trunk of the plum tree to catch insects making their way up towards the fruit.

Still, I’m feeling very wary about karma. It’s strange being god-like and all powerful over something so much smaller than yourself.  I don’t like it at all.