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Writing

(Photo credit: Pascal Maramis)

Well, not exactly, perhaps – but still.

I was working hard, the other day, on this opera libretto – or trying to. Actually, to say that I was frowning at the computer screen, and crossing out five words for every three I wrote, would be a more accurate description. It didn’t help that my neck and head were giving me grief, but let us not mince matters: the fact is, I felt more than a little stuck.

So, after a torturous couple of hours of this, the thought of the papers I had to mail flashed through my mind, very much like a glimpse of salvation. By then I was desperate enough that I would have clutched at anything, but a deadline was involved, and I really, really had to go.

Of course, as I might have expected, it was salvation of the most dubious kind: at the Post Office, I found myself at the tail end of the longest, slowest queue on record. I could only stand in line, fume to myself, wish I had brought something to read, and fume some more…

And then it happened.

I was busy devising inventive names for the giggling, chatty, messy, oh-so-slow clerk, when the first line popped up in my mind. And then another. And then another… Dig for a notebook (I always, but always have one with me), dig for a pen, scribble, scribble, scribble… For the next twenty minutes I happily counted syllables and jotted down line after line, and by the time it was my turn at the counter, I had a complete scene and a good chunk of the next one – far from perfect, of course, but still more and better than I had managed in two hours at home.

So, it would seem it is true. And yes, I know it is, but it always takes me by surprise: a little walk, a notebook at hand, something to take one’s mind from what doesn’t work – and may be a little fury – will go a long way towards unsticking what is stuck.

Will I remember it next time?

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