The devil whispers in my ear and plays with my hair and strokes the back of my neck. He says, "Don't bother tonight, don't write. Just go to bed. You're tired."
The angel reaches around and thumps him a good one.
"Ow!" he exclaims, "Hey! That hurt!"
She gives him a look and then pats me soothingly. "Don't listen to him," she says, "Go write. You'll feel better."
Often I can't decide who to listen to. Sometimes I listen to both and dither for what seems an endless time, until there is no more time and I have to go to bed anyway.
When you make the decision to cut back, give things up, try and say no, you don't always anticipate just what might fall by the wayside.
"Your shoulders look tense," whispers the devil. "They'd probably feel better if you were lying down with a book."
"Actually, he's right," sighs the angel, wiping the corner of her halo with the edge of her robe. I shoot her a look and keep typing.
When I'm driving to work in the mornings, through the cone of fog that cups the hill and the bowl of fog that fills the valley, I look for things to remember. Things to write about. Things to tell you. By the time I get home, after a full day of concentrating, the fog seems to have moved inwards and taken up residence in my own internal hills and valleys. I can't sit down right then and write them out because there are still things to do. There are always things to do.
"You miss it so much when you don't write. There are people looking for you. They're patient but they won't wait around forever," says the angel. She's been sitting too close to the devil, I think. He's rubbing off.
"Ha!" he chimes in. "That's right! There's always someone else to read."
"Would you two shut up? I can't concentrate," I swear at them and stomp my fingers down harder on the keys. Backspace, backspace, erase, correct.
They hop down and walk around on the top of the desk, kicking at the piles of papers. "You don't have time to write," says the devil. "Look at all this stuff you haven't finished yet!" My head droops a bit as I shift my eyes to look at him without stopping typing.
"Some of that belongs to her husband," the angel answers.
"Yeah," I say, and then I stick my tongue out behind his back. It makes me feel better for a moment, then it makes me giggle.
I get up and walk away and leave them there. They're too small to catch up if I move quickly.
The Very Happiest of Happy Birthday Wishes to galestorm!
Really Great Writing Out There Right Now: Arrow