My writing is like an old cranky car. Every morning I have to jolt it back into life using jumper cables. This procedure feels thoroughly unpleasant and hopeless, like giving CPR to a cat who’s choking on Whiskas for the tenth time. I do it anyway.
Most mornings the car starts with a cough and a splutter, moves in notches and then gradually builds up to around 30 miles per hour. I drive along, feeling elated at movement that is as unexpected as it is uncertain. At any moment the car might stop moving and shout: “I demand my long overdue annual service and an oil change!” In such a case, I would have no option but to stop writing, go to a massage therapist and buy some champagne.
Luckily, this happens very rarely. Usually the car picks up speed, going at a comfortable rate of 40 miles per hour. As Jane Fonda said on an exercise bike: Finally we’re getting somewhere. I write, and it’s fun, it’s cool, it’s exciting the way dressing up Chihuahas or going camping with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie might be exciting.
The engine hums, I’ve changed the oil and everything runs smoothly. We drive to the mountains and as the sun sets, we look across the desert at all the donuts we just painted there. It is beautiful and noble and ridiculous at the same time. I’m so happy I laugh out loud.
At home, I park the car and slap the hood lovingly. It’s a good machine, a slow starter for sure, but a good machine.
The next morning, the car won’t start again. I curse and promise to never, ever drive the damn thing again.