Monkey Business

Summer is truly over.

The sun has scampered away. The little dears are off to school. And all that remains is me and silence and my computer.

Because it’s just down to that, isn’t it?

This humming blank screen and my thoughts.

And if my thoughts were all about my book, well, it would be a match made in heaven. But unfortunately, my thoughts are flying all over the place and rarely have anything to do with my book.

Financial worries, chocolate urges, children’s schedules, school trips, gray hairs appearing, wrinkles deepening, yes.

But novel? No.

I’ve been reading about Chinese sayings for this novel set in Singapore that I’m working on and I read a doozy yesterday:

To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders. Lao Tzu

And I realized that I have absolutely no control over my thoughts. They swing like a bunch of monkeys through my brain, breaking all the dishes, eating all the chocolate and making one hell of a mess.

So I’m trying really hard to learn to control them.

I’ve learned an approach that is working for me. And I thought I’d share it.

In my mind’s eye I lure the grinning, arm-pit-scratching beasts with bars of chocolate. (Lindt’s milk chocolate with hazelnut, if you care to know–and those, I admit, are not in my mind’s eye, they’re in my stomach). Then I grab the monkeys by the neck, open wide each one’s jabbering mouth and place a sock in it.

It’s a zen-like ritual: Open mouth. Insert sock. Open mouth. Insert sock.

And you should see the looks on their little hairy faces.

Of course, there is a lot of mumbling and thumping going on but I’m usually able to ignore that and finally get some actually writing done.

So tell me, how do you deal with your jabbering monkeys?

photo by  棟樑‧Harry‧黃基峰‧Taiwan (flickr)


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4 responses to “Monkey Business

  1. I turn ’em into lemmings and pitch ’em off a cliff. Unfortunately, some of them bounce. . . Maybe I should stuff them in socks and knot the cuffs, first?

    (I was happy to see your post, Nina — I’ve missed them)

  2. ninakillham

    Thanks, Sarah, it’s nice to be back. So bouncing lemmings, huh? Ha. I like it, I like it. x

  3. Mandy Burbs


  4. ninakillham

    Ha! Hello, my dear sister, love the name! And yes, excellent advice.

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