Writers and their quirks: an improbably logical alliance

Writing is rarely easy, mostly hard.  The transformation from ethereal gray matter to tangible black and white compels an embrace of fearlessness, resolution and perseverance.  And, at some point along the way, this challenging and mysterious profession demands from the writer the construction of a conducive environment – a writer’s room – built with particularly, and, perhaps, peculiarly sized nuts and bolts.  From the outside, this structure may appear utterly random and disordered or, alternatively, obsessively calculated and inflexible.  However, from the inside, the room is nothing less than a perfect reflection of the writer’s unique and instinctive idiosyncrasies – most often displayed in deliberately arranged items and routine disciplines.  Yes, writers have quirks.  The list of eccentricities is long; even a short read can provoke the curious to ask the question, Why?

Why does a writer wear the same item of clothing every day?  Why does one writer wear white from head to toe?  Why does another wear all black or purple or red?  Why must a writer wear a certain color lipstick, and why does that writer panic when Chanel drops Fatale #71 from its Rouge Allure line?  Why does a writer purposely line up the same pens in the same order every single day?  Why can’t a writer have two cups of coffee each day instead of three?  Why can’t that writer drink those two or three cups from a small white cup instead of large white cup?  Why must a writer arise at the same time each day, work at the same time each day – either morning, afternoon or evening – bathe in the same fashion at the same time each day, and go to sleep at a designated and inflexible each night?  Why does any single change in a writer’s regime make it impossible to write the following day or days or weeks?  Why can’t a writer handle even the smallest interruption?  Why does a knock at the door send a writer into a downward speed-wobble?  Why does a ringing phone send a writer for cover?  Why can’t a writer work when there’s someone in the vicinity, even when that someone is quiet as a mouse, and even when that someone is not actually visible?  Why does a writer become paralyzed and unable to write past Tuesday night simply because someone is scheduled to mow the lawn on Thursday?  Instead of writing on Wednesday, why does that writer sit like a petrified rock and stare down the driveway in anticipation of the next day’s intruder?  Why, on Thursday, does the writer draw the blinds and slink around from window to window until that lawn mower has left the area?  Why do plans for November make it impossible for a writer to write in October?  Why can’t a writer take a day off now and then?  Why does a question as simple as “What would you like for dinner tonight” or “Would you like to take a vacation next year” throw a writer so off-kilter that it takes months to recover?  In fact, why is answering a single question more disconcerting than staring…

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