Nine to Five & a Sack Lunch

Ol’ Bill ate typewriters for breakfast. He taught me the trick of spittin’ out the lys and the pieces of ing before they clogged the back teeth; said he had no use for adverbs. I tried to take his advice every step I could, cuz his eyes showed me where the landmines were snugglin’ down under just an inch or two of mud and just by sweepin’the soggy earth to one side, almost like squirtin’ it off the sidewalk with a nozzled hose, the writing came out pure, clean and hard as the sidewalk itself. I wanted to write like that. I really wanted to be that kind of writer and so I listened to everything he said about grammar and of course, style. Ok ok, I’d say, when he look all mad and impatient with me.

I’m doing the best I can, ya know…And he’d say, I doubt it.

It was a crappy relationship, but no one else was willing to let me sleep on their couch, take two hours baths at two in the morning. I always cleaned up after myself and I made dinner and a sack lunch for him to take to the yard where he sliced pecker poles into board feet and sanded the worst of his sloppy cuts down.

I was sick to death of having no “room of my own” and wished for even the tiniest space to set up my own little shop to split infinitives inside and watch the curtains blow as I ripped up the window shade and breathed in deep the darkest wind of winter. I wanted to work nonstop until it was time to sleep and the next day, start all over again until I had a story or a poem so close to perfection I couldn’t tell the difference between this draft and that one, like this dalmation puppy and that one.