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What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? I wake every morning at around six, drink coffee and eat fruit, and then get to work. While I work, I drink more coffee, writing only on a Mac desktop, and I never listen to music. I wish I could, but music interferes with my ability to hear the dialogue of the characters. I write until lunch time. I do this seven days a week and have for the last three decades.
Walking up the Craters’ driveway, I hugged Louise close, and she grinned. I used to love that grin. Taking our coats, Earl Crater said that we were the only couple who hadn’t missed a single one of their New Year's Eve bashes since the tradition began two decades ago. He waited for me to beam with pride. I felt sick to the soul. How had it come to this? Year after year, celebrating hope and renewal with a pair of pitiful, old drunks.What a pair they make. Earl staggering to the grave, trying not to spill his gimlet. Estelle worse—trembling hands, yellow teeth, hacking cough. If it were up to me, we’d have stayed home and stared at the wall, but seeing as how the Craters’ daughter killed our son, God forbid we should refuse them anything. That’s actually how Louise sees the world. She worries incessantly about the feelings of others, and yet for all she knows the Craters drowned their guilt long ago and invite us only out of obligation.I made a beeline for the bar, where I summoned small talk with three old gents in blue blazers. What is it about elderly WASPs and dandruff? Is it genetic or learned? With the help of much champagne and a postcard view of the sound, I feigned an interest in golf and college football while they pretended to care where my youngest had applied to college.When the topic switched, as it inevitably does, to the evil of the Democrats, I began to count boats and buoys and blinking lights. Soon I was tipsy and envious of every sailor who had ever died at sea.During the countdown to midnight, Louise sidled over, ready for her big kiss. I smiled down at her with damp eyes, as though another year together were all the happiness I could ever wish for. Thank God there were no mirrors around. Sometimes I catch my reflection at moments like these, and I'm speechless with shame. I shudder at how unconvincing I am. Why doesn't she see it and slap me across the face? The party dispersed quickly—everyone eager to return to his comfy bed, one year closer to the worms.
by Karen Hugg