Sometimes the writing muse perches on one’s shoulder and whispers sweet words into a grateful ear, and sometimes she stays out all night and sleeps all day. Yesterday my muse slept in, or perhaps, miffed at me for neglecting her for a couple of weeks, she packed her suitcase and went to Vegas. Left to my own writing devices, this “glossary of terms” is the best I could come up with. If you’re a writer, I bet you can relate to at least a couple of them. If you’re not a writer, you might learn how to avoid being killed by one, at least in real life. All bets are off as to whom we kill on paper!
Here it is, my working vocabulary for the would-be writer:
- Book: what we are desperately trying to write
- Caffeine: the liquid we consume to fuel our creativity while desperately trying to write
- Caffeine jitters: the shakiness in our hands and scattered state of our brains that work in direct opposition to our goal of writing a book
- Characters: real people whom we have known all our lives but that are, nevertheless, “made up” in the fiction we write (reference: The Darjeeling Limited, when after the writer brother has maintained throughout the entire movie that he writes “only fiction,” he finally thanks the other two brothers, who have complimented him time after time on how well he described various relatives on various occasions in various novels)
- Daydream: the pictures in our heads of ourselves being interviewed on the Today show for having the number one best-selling book on the New York Times Bestseller List 258 weeks in a row
- Doldrums: where we find ourselves when we realize that in order to have the number one best-selling book on the New York Times Bestseller List 258 weeks in a row, we must actually write the book
- Ego: what we don’t have enough of at times and too much of at other times; an essential part of a writer’s being that, no matter how little or how much we have of it, is easily hurt, bruised, and battered
- Jerks: anybody who doesn’t care enough about our outpoured, painfully rendered, heart-felt words to read them
- Jerkier jerks: any jerk who compounds his or her jerkiness by claiming he or she hasn’t read our outpoured, painfully rendered, heart-felt words because he or she “has a life.” The comparative “jerkier” automatically upgrades to the superlative “jerkiest” if the jerk is one’s blood relative.
- Jugular: what our hands are itching and twitching to slice with a dull knife upon encountering any level of jerk, but most particularly a jerkiest jerk. FYI: “sharp” will get the job done faster, but “dull” is more painful.
- Lies: pieces of misinformation, prefabrication, twisted fact, or downright fantasy that are forbidden by the ninth of the Ten Commandments, but which some writers get paid to tell
- Napkin: a square piece of thin, foldable paper that writers utilize for jotting down spontaneously-occurring ideas when a more traditional form of writing surface is nowhere to be found; also ideal for wadding up and sticking in our ears to avoid outside noise or for draping over our cell phones when the jerkiest jerks insist on group texting when they are desperate for information but too lazy to look it up themselves
- Table squatter: for the coffee shop writer, an insensitive person who occupies a table large enough for a small army of writers when he or she is by himself or herself with only a laptop for company
- Table vulture: a coffee shop writer with heightened sensitivity as pertains to the ideal writing table and who keeps one eye on any and all table squatters and the other eye on whatever personal writing paraphernalia (hopefully not a napkin) he or she is using at the time. A table vulture becomes a table diver at the exact moment he or she senses movement indicating the table squatter is leaving. Good table divers can have their own paraphernalia on the reconnoitered table before the table squatter has fully removed his or her own pathetic belongings.
- Writer’s block: a segment of time when, thanks to our absent muse, our imaginary friends won’t talk to us writers; why I wrote this instead of my next chapter