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During an interview today, I was asked to give advice to fellow writers and without hesitation, I said, “Keep writing. Don’t censor yourself. Keep a journal.” I’m such a hypocrite. The moment I struggle for words I close up shop. Truly, I’m a coward. I have a low tolerance for frustration. Club me over the head with any nearby implement than make me sit in front of a blank page, or worse 400 painstakingly strung together words. If I don’t hit the ball out of the park on the first draft I leave the stadium.

And I don’t journal. I dismiss it as if it lacks credibility. How many times have I told my son having natural talent means little without practice? When I hear people call me a talented writer I feel like I’ve pulled off some great caper. The same little animated creatures that came to Snow White’s side to tidy up the Dwarfs messy house, crafted “Why Didn’t I Notice Her Before?” while I held the broom and watched; sometimes slept. If I were a great writer, I’d be able to recreate the magic literally whistling while I worked.

Where are those bluebirds when I need them? I’ve never wanted to see a raccoon so badly. I swear to god if a family of deer crosses my yard I will take a bullet for them. My dog needs to stop chasing the squirrels because I need my head scrubbed and the cobwebs cleared. If they would just show up and sing that sweet little "Whistle While You Work" tune, I could keep running around pretending that it’s more important for me to increase my cardio with yoga and swimming between 9:30 am and 1:30 am than it is to write.

There is a question over whose fault this is. My 2011 MacBook Air is playing head games with me as we make MMA history: AIR versus CRAMER. My situation is also being adapted into a thriller where AIR is purposefully trying to drive me crazy, that or I have a kick me sign on my back.

My computer is holding on for dear life and I accept that, but I don’t appreciate its sinister, angry tone with me (most likely its complaint about the many scones I have eaten in and over its presence).

If I do not hit the space bar with the force of an elephant to the point where my fingertips go numb, my sentences look like this...

Notonly am I struggling to get a thought out,I’mbattlingthis god damn keyboard which has a mindof its own that is sadistic,evil and winning. My mind feels sticky andmy computer knows it and is mimingme—miming me!

At first, I thought I was just being lazy and not pressing the space bar with enough conviction. The space bar doesn’t take my half-hearted attempts at prose seriously. Fine, I respect that. Neither does the cursor? I am in a game of cat and mouse with Pong. Between my mental fuzzyscape and my space bar’s insolence, things are hard enough without that little bastard of a hairline tripping me up. As soon as I slap down a period it runs off as if it is in search of a more worthy statement. Clearly, it is vacating the scene of a literary crime. It takes a lengthy expedition to track it down only to find it a few paragraphs back in the middle of the second sentence. It might as well be hidden in tall grass. The pulsing of its heart monitor gives it away. On closer look, I question if it’s making an editorial comment. Look here! What the hell does this mean? What do you want to say? Rewrite. Rewrite. Why is everyone making fun of me?

If my AIR no longer is thwarting my process I’ll have to take all the blame. Should I purchase a new laptop right now on Amazon Prime and risk some workers’ safety for my overnight delivery?

- Beth Cramer

Beth Cramer is an accomplished editor and director of independent films, commercials and music videos. She is the author of WHY DIDN'T I NOTICE HER BEFORE? Irreverent, painfully honest and often hilarious, Why Didn’t I Notice Her Before? is a beautifully observed memoir that finds courage and humor in the face of undefeatable odds.


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