Monday, January 19, 2009

Funny how a day goes.

I’m still not 100% well, this virus has been nasty and debilitating, sapping energy, making me snorfle unpleasantly and hearing myself bark and cackle and hack into callers' ears. Food has lost any taste. I had to cancel a whole week of client and social appointments and commitments. We only miss hale and hearty when our health crouches in a corner.

Last night I went out, aimlessly, in a snow storm in the car. I don’t know why. I’m stupid that way. I ate at a Chinese food place, ate is too kind a word, I sampled a plate of fish, peking duck and cold unidentifiable things that were meant to be hot, I left most of it and came home within 45 minutes. I couldn’t stand the excitement.

Then my nose opened up. A massive nasty nosebleed that took hours to stop and then opened up again an hour later after I forgetfully blew my nose. I lay in bed thinking of the headline :

Grandmother dies in bed asphyxiating on her own blood.

It kept me awake for hours. I tossed and turned. Cuddled with the dog. Went down and made cocoa at 3 o’clock in the morning. Snow fell. Ploughs thundered by. My nose is all clogged and I am now mouth breathing, terrified the dam will burst again. I must have fallen asleep at dawn, light was seeping in under the blind. I like being tired enough that I don’t care if I drown in blood in my sleep.

My last thought was: Why are you so afraid of working on your novel?

I got up at eight and called my client. I apologized. I said anything I told him about why I couldn’t work for him today would be TMI (too much information). He was fine. We changed the date to tomorrow. No one wants to hear about blood. No matter what the source.

I went back to bed, still mouth breathing. Slept until 10. Made breakfast of mueslix and pineapple.

I wrote in my journal: Why are you so afraid of working on your novel?

Answer: The muse is gone, writer’s block is major, it is a stupid crappy novel anyway and you can’t really write.

OK. We’re glad that’s out of the way. Now can you make one promise? Just one?


Can you not go into email, go into the web, go into blogs until you’ve sat for four hours at the keyboard reading some of the novel and maybe, huh, writing?

OK. Alright. But it won’t work.

4.00 p.m. I tear myself away from the keyboard. I am crying my eyes out. I’ve written the back story of one of the main character’s parents. Completely. How they met in Auschwitz. How they suffered. How they shaped him, their only child. How they live and breathe on my pages.

I can write.

And blow my nose again.


  1. What a heart wrung post, WWW. I was with you all the way. I do so hope that you will be feeling better soon as I hate to know that you are not well and are having a bad time. Nose bleeds can be scary when they don't stop. You think you will bleed to death. My son used to get them a lot.

    Do not go out for Chinese food until you are all well again. That is an order. Eat chicken soup, even if it is Campbell's.

    Much love,
    many hugs,

  2. Glad to hear all the blockages are clearing up :-)

  3. Conor, nice one! I bet most writers keep telling themselves their novels are crap and they can't write. I bet Dickens sat around saying "God, this Little Dorrit thing is utter shite". I'm sure the great reading public would have a very different opinion.

  4. All that mouth breathing gets scary after a while - we don't realise how much we value our noses, do we - until they block up or start spilling our blood in copious quantity ?

    Glad you seem to be coming out the other side of that damned nasty virus - albeit slowly, with your muse waiting patiently to join you.

    Can't write? Are you kidding??

  5. I've never suffered nose bleeds, but in every other way I'm with you one hundred percent. I also recognize the (almost) magnetic distraction of the internet, pulling us away from our weightier literary chores. I, too, am guilty, as charged, m'lud!

    I trust you'll be back in good health very soon.

  6. But please don't get so engrossed in your novel that you leave your loyal blog readers bereft!

    Worried about all that bleeding, though. I can understand getting nosebleeds in the intense cold we've been living through in SW Ontario recently, but I'm surprised you bled so much. Do please get it checked out. At the very least, you may have burst a blood vessel that needs to be cauterised.

    Stay well. XOT

  7. {hugs} Hope you feel better soon - and wow for the length of the nosebleed. As Tessa said - if it starts up again, do get it checked out.

    Congratulations on getting so much done on your novel!

  8. You write with gentle humour and astute observation, and you have taught me a new word "snorfle" - loooverly lady!

    I am often overcome with excitement in Chinese restaurants, it's a mixture of a chemical induced monosodium glutimate high and the deep red, often fish backed decor.

    Get well soon honey, you are way too special to be ill for so long. What are you most looking forward to tasting again?

  9. @Irene:
    Thank you for such kind good wishes, I obeyed orders, ma'am. Did not trailblaze for Chinese dinner through blizzard!
    Including the ones I was too polite to talk about!
    All writers have enormous insecurities, it is comforting to know we are not alone!
    I will not take my nose for granted ever again!
    It is the greatest distraction of them all, apart from a really really good book!!(or some interesting horizontal pastime!).Thanks for the good wishes.
    My mother always said that when one has a really nasty virus you know it's coming to an end with a nosebleed. She was right. I'm convinced.
    I've leaked enough. All better now.
    Oh I love your reaction to Chinese. Though I must admit to calling such places "Chifoos" after one that had most of its flourescent signage missing a long long time ago. Fish backed decor? Oh you mean the omnipresent tanks of lonely large bored goldfish.
    I had a craving for Thai food, now satisfied :-)Thank you, dear.


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