where the writers are
Author slip-a-ways

I have frequent author slip-a-ways. You all know what I mean. It happens when you've got at least one toe in the real world, then your author's mind slips into your wip (maybe I should call it author slip-wip?). For me, it's fine to have an episode at dinner or lunch or watching TV. My partner Jack understands. I hear my name and snap to, realize he's been speaking to me. He smiles. "You're thinking about your novel, aren't you?" he asks. I grin. No harm, no foul.

It happens on my morning runs. No one knows. I manage to steer around people, dogs, and the occasional foreign object (often donated by dogs) on the path. I return home physically tired but mentally energized.

It happens at the gym. A lot. I belong to a small gym and go when I know few others will be there. I smile and nod greetings but I'm not there to socialize. I sweat, I grunt, and I let my mind drift. I usually end up thinking about what I wrote that morning, all the things that are wrong with it, and how to fix it. I've lost track of how many times people have surprised me by asking "Have you fallen asleep?" I realize I'm on my back, weights I intended to press hovering above me. Or lying on a mat in a pre-crunch position. Or standing under a pull-up bar, staring vacantly ahead instead of pulling up. Exercise must release something into my blood, and my mind uses it to consider the wip I'm writing instead of the wip that is my physical self.

Those instances aren't too bad, but there are times when author's slip-a-ways are decidedly unwelcome. Driving springs to mind. I hate being honked at after the light turns green (and all the other lanes of cars have progressed through the intersection). I've worked hard to eliminate author slip-a-way when driving. It's not as dangerous as texting, but it can't be safe.

Recently I found a new time to resist the wip-slip--while eating pistachios. We had a huge bag of them. I like pistachios, and the cracking and eating of them invited the slip-a-way. I stood at the counter, cracking, munching, thinking, cracking, munching, thinking... When I came to, I had a pile of shells that required multiple double-hand loads to the trash. Then I did it again the next day. And the next. Finally the bag was empty, and I relaxed. But durn it all if there's not a new bag in the pantry now.

My new goal is to avoid thinking about the wip while cracking pistachios. It can't be healthy, and what's more, I'm not even sure if I enjoyed them all. What a waste.

Anyone else have a situation where author slip-a-way is unwelcome?