Thursday, March 11, 2010

GLITCHING TO WRITE

Ah, yes. There will be days like this.

For so many reasons, the writing process is filled with ups and downs. Flashes of inspiration followed by bouts of blandness. Crests of confidence flattened by form rejection letters. Moments when my schnauzers pretend to listen as I hash out a plotline, then days of doggy indifference. The highs and lows are inherent in the life of a writer. How many of us have checked bipolar symptoms online—professional hazard or psychological concern?

Yesterday was an amazing day of writing. Everything clicked. In fact, I was riding a three-day streak and feeling mighty fine. It was just the boost I needed after letting the Olympics and the Oscars sidetrack my productivity.

And then technology came along and slimed me. First thing this morning, I turned on my laptop, did what was supposed to be a quick email check and then after reading one email, “Problem Loading Page” flashed atop the screen. Refresh. Same message. Refresh, refresh, refresh. (Hope does spring eternal.)

I restarted the computer. No change. This forced me to dig out the new modem my cable provider sent me months ago. I’d tried to hook it up on a Saturday in December, but when I called the Support number, as instructed, to complete the change the technician half laughed and said there was a problem. Call back in a few days.

The fool! Didn’t he know whom he was talking to? Technology only gets one chance with me. I do have a low threshold for pain, you know. (I’m a redhead and medical research proves I’m not just being a wuss.)

I had no choice but to call the number again. I went through the annoyingly long automated sequence, pressing 3s and 4s only to wait for more options, more numbers to choose. Upon First Contact with a human, I broke out in a sweat. The guy started giving me instructions about cables and routers and electrical outlets over the phone. Another fool! Again, didn’t he know whom he was talking to? He must have been on his coffee (or medicinal marijuana) break because he gave each direction only one time and then contentedly waited in silence, possibly looking at butterfly decals, as I fumbled around with cords and black boxes for minutes on end. I don’t know why I felt I needed to rush. The guy—oh, let’s call him Darryl after my favorite “Newhart” characters—could have held the line all day. He knew a good gig when he had one.

An hour later, I had service restored. Of course, by then, I was too frazzled to sit down and write. I treated myself to a heaping batch of blueberry pancakes and mindless Internet surfing which led to exciting nuggets of information, such as: (1) Betty White is hosting SNL in May; (2) Nikki Yanofsky’s CTV Olympic song “I Believe” is still number one in Canada (and nowhere else); and (3) head shots in hockey, while unanimously deemed penalty/discipline worthy by the NHL’s GMs, will continue without sanction at least for the rest of the season due to several procedural hurdles. (Yes, let’s be fair. I’m sure Marc Savard and the next unsuspecting player who sacrifices his health and career will thank you for it.)

Back on track again, I had a productive afternoon fine tuning a spec script for a television sitcom. It was finally ready to print and I was so excited I cleaned the kitchen as the printer hummed along. (I’m not sure how tomato sauce stains landed atop the refrigerator, but they’re gone now.)

And then another snag. I had purchased a copy of an aired script for the sitcom to ensure my formatting mirrored that of the show’s writers. No way was I going to get tossed in the recycling bin on a technicality! However, when I collected the pages from the printer, all of my customized line spacing and underlining were ignored, deemed incorrect, by the Celtx program’s typesetting mode. I tried again but Celtx had a mind of its own. I searched the forums and FAQs online to no avail. After feeling entirely deflated, I sent off a polite, yet desperate email, setting forth the problems I’d encountered.

The script, as printed, is passable. Yet I know it can look even better so I sit and wait. The package I’d hoped to send off at the post office must wait another day, week, perhaps longer.

I’m glitched out. I look forward to a writing upswing come tomorrow.

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