Shari Kasman is a Toronto-based writer whose work has appeared in Joyland and Taddle Creek Magazine as well as in Anansi’s eBook anthology of Broken Social Scene stories. Her collection of short stories, Everything Life Has to Offer, is forthcoming from Invisible Publishing in November 2016.
Shari didn’t write anything for her guest post this week. Or maybe she did.
Why I’m Not Writing
I need to write something for this Brockton Writers Series blog and decide to write about distractions. I search the Internet for information to include in the piece and learn from the Psychology Today website that distractions can be disruptive. I was hoping to learn something a four-year-old doesn’t know so I continue searching the internet, but notice a layer of dust on a shelf. I get out the microfibre cloth from under the sink and dust the shelf then figure I might as well dust some other things, too, so I tackle the top of a picture frame and the top of a stereo speaker. Small improvements like this matter. Back on the couch with my laptop, I decide that rather than delve deeper into the topic of distractions, this piece can be entirely based on existing knowledge. I can’t find the notebook I was going to write in, but I know I saw it earlier. I look under the couch. It’s not there. I open my laptop and check email, Facebook, and Twitter. I have three notifications about events I won’t attend and one notification that says someone I barely know likes my photo of cake falling over. An email from my mother says she was listening to latin jazz on the jazz radio station, and a Twitter link sends me reading articles on plants that purify air, which reminds me that I should water my plants. One is overgrown and could potentially envelop the fridge, so I cut off some pieces and repot the plants, leaving dirt all over the floor, which I need to vacuum before it spreads. I water the plants and am about to get back to writing but it feels like I’m getting a cold and there’s a tangelo on the table so I eat it as a preventative measure. I’m ready to write this piece now but I first pour a glass of water, then decide tea would be a good idea, so I put on the kettle. I could have three productive minutes of writing before I’d have to turn off the stove, but there’s a knock at my door. It’s the mailman. He has a package for me. I sign for it and he says I have best signature he’s seen all day — it looks a little like Arabic. Since we’re already talking I see this as the perfect opportunity to ask him a series of job-related questions. He explains that his mail route goes up and down my street and the next street and around the corner, and he says he delivers mail for five hours every day, then I close the door and put the package on the floor. I turn off the kettle and grab the first tea bag I see. It’s superfruit tea. I don’t know what superfruit is, but it’s worth trying anything that claims to be super. I should know what I’m drinking, so I Google superfruit and learn that it can be any number of berries. Super. Then my phone beeps because a couple people on Twitter are now following someone who’s irrelevant to me. My phone dings. It’s an email from my mother that says her house lost power for ten minutes. I’m ready to write but don’t see my notebook. I check on the piano then realize I should be playing piano, but because there’s a keyboard on the floor, I end up listening to synth drum tracks which I then need to record so I can remember what I’m doing later on when I continue working on this, when I’m not in the middle of writing this piece for the reading series. I see that a button on my sweater is coming loose and need to fix it before it falls off. I can’t find the needles. The pin cushion should be near the sewing machine, but I don’t see it there, then find it on the kitchen table. I take the first spool of thread I see and sew the button, then check to make sure all the other buttons are secure. Then I check the buttons on another sweater and on two coats. My tea is now cold. I need to boil more water. I put the kettle on and drink cold superfruit tea. I find my writing notebook under the microfibre cloth which is on top of a larger notebook that’s full of ideas. I flip through the book of ideas and read about an an idea for an art project that has to do with shapes. I write the idea on a Post-It Note which I stick to the wall by the couch. I turn off the stove and pour boiling water into the half-full mug of cold superfruit tea. The alarm on my phone goes off, but I can’t remember why I’d set it. My phone chimes. It’s an email from my mother to let me know she’s going to a meeting tonight. I’m not working at my desk since it’s too messy in that room because I need a bookshelf. I contemplate going out to buy a bookshelf but don’t go anywhere since I need to get some writing done. I check Craigslist and the only good bookshelf is a 45-minute drive from home. I renew the Craigslist ads for my squash racquet and for university textbooks that are too out of date to be useful. I check my email. I check Facebook. My phone alarm goes off again and I remember it’s because I’m supposed to play the piano, but I already did that, so now I can write this piece. I check my email and remember I should go buy a stamp to mail a birthday card. I’ll write this thing later.
Shari Kasman visits Brockton Writers Series on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 – full of beans Coffee House & Roastery, 1348 Dundas St. W., Toronto (6:30pm, PWYC) – along with Pushpa Raj Acharya, Larissa Lai, Melanie Mah and a special guest talk, “Shall We Dance? The Importance of the Author-Editor Relationship”, by Dundurn Press acquisitions editor Shannon Whibbs.