Staring Into Space on a Typical Afternoon

Whose desk this is I think is clear.
His cat-bed on the desk-tray dwells;
He’s using it while I work here
To write at least one book this year.

My silly bird thinks he excels
In helping, though he never tells
What the next plot twist ought to be
As concentration he dispels.

And this is now a dog I see
Who shows up just to punish me.
His stupid head upon my lap
Hinting that he needs to pee.

So soft my bed, so warm my wrap
But I’m caught in contracts like a trap.
And shit to do before I nap,
And shit to do before I nap.

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I play the drum.

16 thoughts on “Staring Into Space on a Typical Afternoon”

  1. Feels and Cliffs

    Some say a book should end in feels;
    Some say in cliffs.
    From what I’ve learned of big book deals
    I hold with those who favor feels.
    But if I had to end it — if —
    I think I know enough of sales
    To say that for a series, cliffs
    Are also great
    For next-book riffs.

  2. Someone there is that doesn’t love a cliff,
    That sends requests for change regarding it,
    And thinks that every knot should be untied.
    My readers burn to know what’s going to happen,
    For resolution gladly wait three years,
    And think of little else meanwhile, I tell him.
    He only says, “Good endings make good series.”
    Sales are the mischief in me, and I wonder
    How to put market wisdom in his head.
    “Why do they make good sequels? Isn’t it
    Proven by Tolkien and by Robert Jordan
    That millions don’t want books too self-contained?”
    I could say “Elves” to him; he’d take my meaning,
    If he weren’t stubborn as a Linotypist
    In darkness of the print shop. So he points
    To the firm endings of my past best-sellers,
    And likes the figures of their sales so well
    He says again, “Good endings make good series.”

  3. Oh, dear. Suddenly Robert Frost is good for something. Who knew?

    Thank you, all, very much.

  4. Two plots diverged as I planned my book,
    And sorry I could not write them both
    And tell one story, long I took
    To note down several twists and hooks
    The one suggested, being loath

    To give them up. I’m writing the other–just as good,
    And being, perhaps, more saleable,
    More cinematic, if it should
    Come to movies (Not that it would,
    And anyway my judgement’s fallible

    About what sells)—but I now find it hard
    To look back on that plot, the one I didn’t choose,
    Un-plotholed and pristine, or flawed
    At least in ways unlike the ways that this one’s marred,
    And feel that I chose rightly which to use.

    When I submit this manuscript, I’m sure I’ll still
    Be second-guessing my decision then,
    Each time I get slush-piled or round-filed.
    I chose to write the one I thought would sell-
    But now I doubt that makes a difference.

  5. Wrong poet, I know, but throwing it out as a challenge to the real poets here: Someone needs to do “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Deadline”

  6. @Drickard: We could do them one at a time.

    I do not know which to prefer,
    The sweat of hope
    Or the sweat of guilt,
    Working at the deadline
    Or just after.

  7. I
    After twenty attempted revisions
    The only moving thing
    Was the approaching deadline.

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