We all have a life. We all have problems, situations, challenges in those lives… and we all have jobs… or not. No offense intended for those of you jobless, out there. I understand. Believe me, I do.
However, provided we do have all the above, it is fair to assume every now and then our job interferes with our personal lives or vice versa (mind you, when I say “our” , of course I mean each person’s one… no crazy cult-like collectives or anything). If we are good and focused enough at what we do, chances are we’ll have an off day or two – unless a certain situation cripples more than “the hamster in our head” – and then go back to normal, being able to perform fairly well. Perhaps, if we are “lucky” enough and/or do not even know our boss personally, nobody will even notice our, as of late, out of character behavior (which, honestly, might mean you’d better stop slacking off, buddy… That, or you live in Scandinavia where “things happen” and it’s OK to not be OK, eat cake three times in a single day and spend more on candles than clothes… long story).
My point is, and maybe by now you’ve guessed I’m a writer – albeit an “aspiring” one – , when one’s “real” job comprises writing about the natural, unnatural and supernatural of life and everything in between, having an off day actually means having an off day. Some might want to contradict me (please, do so) as I say this, but I simply cannot see how a writer is to compartmentalize, discard or put “on hold” his or her thoughts, actions, observations and their conjoined results, later poured out on paper… or screen. While it is possible to be a plumber – and boy, I admire plumbers – and somewhat sweep off personal thoughts while one concentrates on Mrs. Olivero’s kitchen sink, that is, on the matter of one’s professional affection, it results quite hard – if not impossible – to completely do so when one’s working material is precisely thoughts, ideas, which ultimately take shape in words.
Thus daily events, interruptions such as a phone call, genuine life crises and ongoing questions, they all may somewhat disrupt a writer’s cadence, tone and edge, genuinely (see? I just used 2 words derived from the same root, namely genuine and genuinely, in one paragraph) causing a writer’s blocks and the consequent inability to work for one, two, three or more days. It is not that we are physically disabled or otherwise impeded from sitting at the keyboard (may or may not be at the table) and effectively typing some gibberish; it’s just our coordination brain-hand is interrupted by the very materia prima* that should complete the necessary synapses. The problem? How do you explain that to your editor, boss, mom, significant other or dog who wakes you up to run at 6 a.m.? How do you explain “external” thoughts disrupt your work dynamic and you can not simply “leave them at home” (exceptionally hard in particular for those of us who work at home) and proceed to work? How do you skip the explanation part and attempt to at least halfheartedly deliver some equally halfheartedly written advance?
*means “raw materials”. It just “didn’t go” in English. There’s a certain strength in those two Spanish words. Something similar to Alma mater … that’s Latin, I know.