The idea for a novel arrived this morning. I was quite surprised. But I was more surprised when it burrowed through my mind and then crawled out of my ear, perching on the arm of the sofa, as natural as a young novel can be. It blinked at me and then, much quicker than I thought novels could move, scurried in to the next room. I tried to catch it but my fingers were quite stiff from not typing and my body co-joined to the sofa. When eventually I managed to pry myself off the couch I went to look for the little bugger. To my annoyance I found that it had completly disappeared.
I spent an hour looking around the skirting boards on my hands and knees, shouting out abuse for the sheer joy of being in a bad mood. I once lost a short story in the same way, only to find it cohabiting with a house spider under the sofa. I never managed to get it back and it lives there to this day, taunting me with perfectly formed quips and insults wrapped in spider webs. I try to ignore its outbursts but they are just so – to the point – and without the verbiage of self indulgence. Anyway, digression will earn me a sticky web on my lips if I speak a word of this out loud.
Eventually I found the little blighter (the novel) hunkered in a mouse hole, crying softly. Curiously it had taken the form of a squat lobster and had a pair of tiny but perilously sharp pincers for a voice. I have the lacerations to prove I am not deaf and my fingers smart: salt and cold sting hot. Of course, I tried to reason with it. And when that failed I whispered a lullaby and calm words, to tell it that I loved it just the way it was. But alas, the lobster was having a crisis. And no words of mine could bring it from its hiding place.
I’m going to leave it over night and hopefully the fresh new day will give it wings and the metamorphosis from skeptical, armoured idea to the plump, soft juvenile that it might just be. I really hope that the cat doesn’t get it in the night. So many fledgling thoughts have succumbed to that fate: gobbled up whole or left as lifeless gifts on my back door step, trouble no more but unfulfilled in their infancy, their potential dashed.
I might just feed the cat an extra helping of ice cream and trash tv so he is fat and happy and far too lazy to hunt a young novel on its first day. Lethargy makes a cuddly pussycat out of a killer, I find. And a full belly makes his claws retract so his hands are but soft pads and gentle mittens, and a flannel to wash his beautiful face.
© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015