I spent the next five years writing my surefire best-seller. Five years, and it was the most terrible experience of my life. I could not get my characters to act like real people. I couldn’t get them to talk like real people. Hell, I couldn’t even get them through doors: 'Her hand reached toward the handle of the door.'. - .'Her hand extended toward the oaken knob of her'. . . No no. Jeesh.
By the third year, my concentration was so shot that any sound distracted me and just drove me crazy, so I took to wearing a huge towel wrapped around my head and stereo earphones on top of the towel, and that worked except that I have two cats, and they liked to sit on my lap when I worked, which distracted me. And so I Made a tinfoil skirt, because cats don't like tinfoil. I wore that outfit every day, until one day I saw the gas-meter reader hiding behind a tree outside, staring in at me, and that distracted me even more. So I finally moved to the one place where I felt so trapped that the only way I could get out was through writing, and. that was the passenger seat of my car, out in the driveway, in which I proceeded to pretty much ensconce myself for a whole year.
Now, I drive an old station wagon with a moon roof, and one of the cats was still so angry about the tinfoil skirt and now, on top of that, the move outside-that every day she would walk out, clamber up the hood and up the windshield, and plant herself squat squarely in the middle of the moon roof. And I tell you that the view from where I sat was the perfect metaphor for what I was going through: writing that novel, I was just staring up a cat's ass. ~Mark Salzman on his latest book Lying Awake