Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Word Count and Stephen King

by Rachael Phillips
Today my word count will multiply like dandelions.
Like the amorous rabbits who devour my newly sprouted green beans.
Like the number of unanswered e-mails in my exponential account.
Well, all right, I’ll answer the important ones.
Ninety minutes later, I’ve subtracted twenty-five from eleven thousand and two.
And I’ve liked all the people who already finished their books.

Today’s word count stands at zero.
Well, actually at negative two.
I deleted an adjective from yesterday’s writing.
I wrote “The” to start today’s chapter,
Then decided that if the previous seventeen began with “The,”
I should start the eighteenth some other way.
Not that I’ve completed three-fourths of my book—
I’ve rewritten chapter one seventeen times.

Today my word count will multiply like the screamers
Who inhabit the neighboring school playground
Like the phone calls from telemarketers who can’t speak English
Like the lawnmowers in my neighborhood with arrhythmia
Parked outside my window.
Along with four dozen cars suffering from spastic car alarms and
Three off-key ice cream trucks.

I usually don't read Stephen King because his stories
Make me want to hide under the sofa.
However, he once said something to the effect that
Writers are like oysters. Oysters do not create pearls
By going to pearl-making conferences,
They make pearls by turning life’s irritations into something beautiful.

True, and quite poetic. At the rate
Irritations are multiplying today,
My word count should grow enough to
String necklaces for the entire population of Indiana,
Plus one,
Which I will send to Stephen King.

However, the pearl-making miracle hasn’t happened today,
At least, not to me.
How about you?













  1. Rachael, you're my writing hero. I just love your work. You definitely captured my days that I label "spinning wheels!" You are the Queen of allegory. The Empress of metaphor!

    1. LOL, Karla, you're my writing hero, too! Anyone who can grin while mired in going-nowhere mode has my enormous respect (and deepest sympathy).

  2. Love it, Rachael! And I'm right there with you under the sofa.

    1. Thanks so much, Meghan. I'm currently writing cozy mysteries and enjoying it, but my husband has learned that anything more violent than Little House on the Prairie sends me looking for Mommy!

  3. LOL. Way too many days like that!

    1. Ain't it the truth, Liz! But I'd better not have too many like that during the next couple of months--deadline mid-July!

  4. Awesome.
    And that's exactly why I'm here right now instead of writing.

    1. Thanks for checking in and grinning with the rest of us!

    2. SUPERB! Be sure you submit it to writers mags/journals so "millions" of other writers can smile about the pearls their irritations and pain might produce. . . PS -- I'm NOT a S. King fan, except for his marvelous book on writing. . . :-)

    3. Thanks so much. Maybe I will submit it :-)
      I'm not a King fan, either, Millie--but I do love that one!