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Erica Abeel Headshot

A Writer's Morning

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I recently read a wonderful comment by Israeli novelist Amos Oz about his trade. He said, roughly, I get up in the morning, have a cup of coffee, and try to imagine what it's like to be someone else.

Trouble is, for some novelists, much comes between getting up and trying to imagine.

First -- if you've exceeded your wine quota the night before -- getting up. Next the New York Times on your doormat, especially when Krugman is pounding Obama's stimulus plan or a rival's novel -- inferior to one's own, of course -- is glowingly reviewed.

Next the grooming needs of plants. And the grooming needs of oneself, including nasal irrigation and the rest, promoted by 76th street's The Health Nuts, an Upper West Side store -- now defunct thanks to rapacious landlords -- where the 'hood would consult the owners on everything from joint lubrication to hot flashes ... An itch to check Squawk Box to gauge how much farther the market is edging one into genteel poverty. The open-ended demands of bringing my novel Conscience Point to the world's attention.

The biggest obstacle to the writer's productivity, though, is the gaping maw of cyberspace. Each post a gateway drug to the next. Here's Obama and Putin in Moscow, Putin looking none too friendly and sitting legs akimbo like one of those dudes taking up two seats on the subway. Here's Michelle wearing peach Narciso Rodriguez. Family Changes Clothes Mid Flight! Bigmouth Biden says economy worse than he thought! Franken! Palin! Michael! Omigod, tix for the Jackson memorial are going for $100,000 on Ebay! An item on "Anti-Douchebag Collar Clips" -- say what? And then there's the sex lives of everyone. Sarkozy, just imagine it. John Edwards and the sex tapes with Rielle. Mark Sanford, the tan lines and gentle-as-rain kisses. I Google Ashton and Demi -- will the marriage survive when she gets hot flashes?

Omigod, here comes the exterminator. And the first of many robo calls. It's almost noon. Guess I'll suit up for my Tai Sculpt class at Equinox. 'Cause this writer's morning is shot to hell.

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