For editors everywhere… With apologies to Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond.
If you give a writer a laptop, you can assign him a story. When he starts the story, his fingernails will click on the keyboard. He’ll stop typing. My fingernails are too long to write a story, he’ll say. He’ll ask you for the fingernail clippers. You’ll tell him he’s wasting time, but How can I type with clicking nails? he’ll argue.
When you find him the fingernail clippers, he’ll clip his nails. When he clips his nails, one of his nail bits will fall into his keyboard. His “g” will stop workin_. So he’s _oin_ to ask you for one of those little sucky thin_s you used when your baby had a snotty nose. You’ll roll your eyes, and tell him he’s really wastin_ time. But I’m a writer, he’ll say, “_’s” are my specialty!
So you’ll have to _et him a sucky thin_ from your _ara_e. When you _ive him the sucky thin_, he’ll suck out his fingernail. His “g” will work again. He’ll want to buy you coffee. You’ll say there’s not enough time, but he’ll say he’s not in the mood to write till he has some coffee. You’ll take him to the coffee shop.
When you get to the coffee shop, he’ll order a “half carafe skinny double-caff cap.” He’ll see some writer friends there, also getting in the mood. He’ll want to visit with them. You’ll look at your watch and tell him to quit stalling. He’ll ask you for ten minutes. When thirty minutes are up, he’ll get in the car with you.
On the way home, he’ll see a Walmart. He’ll remember he needs paper for his printer. He’ll ask you to stop. You accuse him of procrastinating. He looks hurt and promises to meet his deadline. You tell him you’ve heard that one before. While you’re shopping for paper, he’ll see the men’s shirt aisle.
He’ll remember his old lucky writing shirt has a hole so he’ll shop for a new lucky writing shirt. You tell him writing has nothing to do with lucky writing shirts and he snaps at you that he’s an artist and it’s all about being in the mood. He’ll buy a lucky Hawaiian writing shirt with palm trees on it.
At the checkout, you’ll remember the paper. He’ll ask you to run and get a ream. You’ll mutter curses under your breath, but you know how writers are. You get the paper, the shirt, the writer, and head home.
When you get home, the writer will yawn big. He’ll say he’s tired. Whew, it’s been a long, hard day of work, and I need a nap, he’ll suggest. You’ll hurl your coffee at him. His shirt will be splattered with scalding double-caff cap.
He’ll scream Ouch!
You’ll feel bad and apologize. No problem, he’ll say, I’m not only an artist, I’m a tormented artist, so pain is good. He’ll say it helps his writing. He’ll strip off the coffee-stained shirt. I have a new lucky Hawaiian writing shirt right here, he’ll say. He’ll pull it from the Walmart bag and put it on. You’ll think he’s ready to write, so you’ll bring him his laptop.
When he puts on his new shirt, a tag will itch his neck. I can’t get this tag off, he’ll complain, scratching his itch. I’ll need something to cut it off with. He’ll ask you for the fingernail clippers.
And chances are, when you give him the clippers…
…he’s going to want some coffee to go with it.