It takes between forty minutes to an hour to write an entry for this blog. When I finish I read it out loud, just once, and then publish.
Before I begin, though, I light a cigarette while staring at a blank screen. On the third toke the blog, in its entirety, comes to me. I lay the cigarette in the ashtray and let the thin plume of smoke rise while I type. A race between the cigarette and my thoughts ensues. I sneak in a drag, or two, while typing with the other hand.
Of course, this was before I decided to attach the patch to my body. This was before I decided to once again walk around with a huge sticker on my arm that reads, “Nicotine Transdermal System 14 mg delivered over 24 hours NCH 0820.” This was before I decided to speed pass step one and go straight into step two. This was…this was the worst decision ever. I mean, great for my health. Sure, lungs are resilient and teeth can always be whitened, which means in a couple of months I’ll erase the damage. But what about writing? Does being a non-smoking writer ruin my street cred? On the streets of Miami Lakes, no less?
A friend suggested I use those chocolate candy cigarettes, Popeye Cigarettes I believe they’re called. And sure, from a distance, the people in Miami Lakes will think I’m smoking, but in a couple of months I’ll reach 50 percent body fat and where does that leave me? On Overweight Street and Grouchy Avenue, that’s where. And, really, no one likes the mean, fat girl. Even Nell Carter at her meanest was still an absolute delight.
Another friend suggested alcohol, which sounds great in theory, but I’ve made it a personal rule never to drink and write. I also don’t drink and dial, drink and text, drink and compose letters, drink and email, drink and Facebook (although tweeting is just fine) – I don’t drink and anything that has to do with communicating. I find it hard enough to be understood, between my accent that doesn’t quit and my patience to muster words. So, putting a pen or phone in my hand may end up similar to an evening with Christiane Amanpour’s younger and way less smarter half-sister who may or may not have dropped a hit of acid before phoning/writing.
Maybe I can just replace the cigarette with a hat. So, instead of lighting up before every writing session, I can just put on a hat. That will certainly give me some writing street cred. Especially if it’s a skully or a beret or a fedora, even. I’m getting really excited about this idea. Why not a tiara or a crown? I think I found my cigarette replacement. Hats it is!
Now all I need is to retrain my left hand to stop reaching for an imaginary cigarette and type alongside my right.