The Farm on Oak Creek

Writer’s Block

Well, that’s going to be my excuse for today’s post…that I have writer’s block.  It’s not really true.  Nor can I blame my delaying tactics on the view outside my window even though what I see has cast a paralyzing spell on me.  I tell you, the grass and trees are so green with chlorophyll they’re practically drunk.  It’s affecting my creativity.

I know!  It’s the flies! Holy smokes, but the flies abound this time of year.  The more rain we get, the more the flies hatch.  And with all the raw manure around here, well, you get the idea. My skin crawls every time one of them lands on me.  I remember an article in National Geographic, I think it was, about a woman riding camels across the interior of Australia.  She talked about the masses of flies landing on her, crawling all over her exposed skin, even covering up her eyes.  Oh gag me with a spoon! I’d rather die.

Or perhaps it’s that my dogs are sleeping at my feet, filling the air with the tainted stink of skunk.  I chastised them roundly this morning for getting skunked and not killing the offending animal.  Or maybe they did kill it and I haven’t yet found the corpse.  I know exactly where the event took place.  I think the word miasma really fits for what lingers at the site of that epic battle.  However, a search of the area revealed no sign of a Cruella deVille striped critter.  Dang.  I’m thinking it lives to fight another day.

Yes, all of those are possible reasons for not getting back to my “real” occupation, but the truth is that I’m sharpening pencils.  All of the writers out there reading this know just what I’m talking about.  The moment has come.  I must start the next murder mystery and I’m avoiding it like the plague.  Pencil sharpening is what Erma Bombeck called this delaying process and it still fits, even in a digital world.

I really thought I had myself corralled.  After all, I’d given myself until August 1st to be “on vacation”, i.e. just farming and doing computer work that didn’t include writing books.  Just like clockwork, the first day of August rolled around and, bam!, I knew who my murder victim was.  I was pretty impressed by that.  A day passed and then another, and potential murderers begin to lurk in the corners of my mind.  Happy to let my subconscious gnaw on the sprouting ideas, I waited for the title to appear.

Even writing that last sentence astounds me.  Until I started my last mystery, I believed I was incapable of titling. Plotting, characterization, description, yes.  Titles, no.  I just didn’t have what it took–I told myself–to boil down the plot into a few catchy words that encapsulated the book.  Then, with that last book, the title jumped out at me bringing with it the whole plot.

I mean, like Wow!  Who knew it could happen like that?  It happened again yesterday when “A Final Toll” popped into my mind. And just like the last time, those three words brought with them the whole book: setting, characters, murder and motives.  Whew.  I do have one more book in me after all.  For that, I give thanks to the god of writing, or whoever it is in whatever pantheon that’s responsible for publishing.

So this morning I should have put my seat in my chair and started typing out the synopsis, or rather the half-synopses that pass for my mystery outlines.  Unlike my first thirteen books, which all had 35 plus page synopses, my mysteries come with half an outline.  It ends at the point where my sleuth begins interviewing the suspects.  I don’t have a clue (pun intended) what happens after that point.  It’s all in Sir Faucon’s hands and I don’t know who whodunit until he tells me.

But did I put myself in front of the computer and create the directory for the new book, then open up Wordperfect and input the title?  No I did not.  I transplanted tomatoes–I’m experimenting with raising a late summer crop of tomatoes.  The new little seedlings looked really lonely in their bed so I added some baby arugula and chard.  Then I seeded in some lettuce in case it decided to rain today (fingers crossed!).  After that, I went to meet with the treasurer and archivist of the Cornville Historical Society, where I immersed myself in the history of Cornville (Cohanville).  Why? Because of my friend Dennis wants to collect stories from the old-timers.

That’s right. Instead of starting the mystery, I’m beginning a book about the history of Page Springs Road.  Like I’ve ever been able to write two books at once? Now this is some serious pencil sharpening.

At least I’ll have something to do this winter.


© Denise Domning, 2023