Writing a book is a labor, sometimes of love, other times of persistence, occasionally of obligation, rarely (one hopes) out of sheer sadism or masochism, depending on who exactly the writer wishes to punish. Regardless of motivation, it is work. And like most jobs, time off can be a necessity during the whole process. Sometimes it’s a holiday, and in some cases in can be an entire leave of absence for months or years until the desire to resume overcomes the reluctance to dive back into the thing that made you walk away altogether.
And sometimes, you just need to tell the book to shove it.
It’s a win-win, right? You do the writing, I copy and paste it, slap my name on the cover, and pay you in those most priceless of gifts, an Acknowledgement and a death in print! (It’s priceless, you see, because I will not be paying you in actual money in any way, therefore having no price for me whatsoever.) I mean, who could pass up a deal like that? You won’t find a better one – well, at least maybe a more honest one – in town!
OK, so now this is where I explain that I haven’t gone completely off the deep end, thereby invalidating the prize for everyone who had April 17th 2013 in the pool for Yep, Alan’s Finally Snapped and Needs a Burly Escort to the Rubber Room.
This morning, my wife asked me to tell her a story. This is what came out.
On a farm in Northreach, a child was playing alone behind the barn. His carved wooden soldiers were crude and simple, but he loved them anyway. His father had carved some of them, but some – the boy’s favorites – had been made by his father’s father, and despite the wood being worn from two generations of loving handling, those three figures were always the heroes and kings and generals, whatever the story in the boy’s head needed them to be. The day was cold, since winter was not long passed, but much of the snow was gone and behind the barn the ground was dry and free from the mud that seemed to be the main component of the farm during early spring.
When last we left those intrepid nomads incapable of traveling more than 2 miles in 3 months, they had cleared part of a prison to serve as Babymaking Base Alpha, sung around a campfire, hurled dog food, lurched into puberty (well, that was just Carl), learned that the infection apparently makes it impossible for their hair to grow (with the exception of facial hair and Carl), and hacked off the leg of the only person with medical experience despite having exactly no medical supplies like peroxide or alcohol or baby aspirin or, apparently, rags of any sort.
Which leads me to another question. These people who’ve been sweating and zombie-killing and digging ditches in the same exact clothes for over a year now haven’t changed their clothes at all? Seriously, fuck how bad the living dead must smell. I can only imagine the Walking Stench this group is carrying around. That shit’s nasty, guys. Find an undershirt. If they can’t be bothered to change their clothes, imagine how disgusting their breath must be. Gahh, dog food and months of plaque build-up and I’m gonna hurl if I keep going with this.