Goose pimples, quilts, and chilblains

If it’s good enough for Susan Hill and AL Kennedy, it’s good enough for me. For a change of pace today, I’m going to try writing from bed.

I left the computer by the bed last night, so when the alarm croaked into life, I’d be ready to go.

And we’re off.

First problem is what position to adopt. As those outside the UK may or may not have gathered, it’s cold here. So cold, in fact, you could freeze the brass monkeys off a snowman with chilblains. So there’s a need for me to keep the duvet tightly wound around me like I’ve shrink-wrapped myself in a puffa jacket. Which is making it difficult to type.

At the moment I’m lying on my side propped up on one elbow, with the duvet slung toga-style around the opposite shoulder. And it’s far from ideal: my arm’s getting sore already, and my neck’s cricked with staring slantways at the screen in the manner of someone watching the bus to all his future happiness disappear around a distant corner. Then there’s the problem of The Patch of Shoulder.

This position, as well as bringing the full weight of my head and some of my upper body to rest on my left elbow, requires there to be a little triangle of me always exposed to the drafty elements. The edge of the duvet’s running from my right shoulder down to my left nipple, leaving everything above that rabbit-proof fence open to the worst the cold has to offer.

I imagine I look a bit like a top-sliced cardboard cutout of myself appearing at a window or doorway as if in some practical joke. And this little triangle of hilarity is getting pretty chilly. I’m turning into a chemistry experiment proving how badly a little man in a bed conducts heat.

The other problem is the temptation to let my head slump sideways and sleep, is growing stronger every minute, and the load-bearing arm is starting to lose sensation in its fingers. Fighting off dreams about Terry Nutkins playing Quidditch.

I’ll have to sit up in a minute. I’ll just have to.

But that means putting both arms out of the duvet, which will leave the whole of my torso vulnerable to winds blowing and cracking their cheeks, spouting cataracts and hurricanoes, ’til they’ve drenched my steeples and drowned the cocks.

Eek. How did Susan Hill manage 4,000 words in a day like this? Whale blubber, bloody-mindedness, and a bottle of vodka’s my best guess.

In any case, time for the great push upwards. Get ready nipples: the drafts are a comin’.

~ by David Thorley on December 1, 2010.

7 Responses to “Goose pimples, quilts, and chilblains”

  1. Not that I mean to question your dedication to the art of writing in bed, but can I make some suggestions?

    Woolly hat

    Bonus marks if your laptop is old and inefficient enough to heat your lap while you’re using it.

  2. I’m a beginner: I need all the help I can get. Though I’d like to arrange some sort of bed writing contest where one person armed with slanket & woolly hat, faces off against another with whale blubber & a bottle of vodka…

  3. I reckon I’d be pretty good at working from bed, but writing… I’ll leave that to you.

  4. Slanket, every time. Why do you not have a slanket? you also want one of those old person v shaped cushions and maybe an inflatable neck pillow to stop your head slumping over and a cup of hot ribena, mmm…

    for tomorrow warm and toasty post you could try writing in the bath (although don’t electrocute yourself)

  5. The idea of writing in the bath is appealing. I wonder if there’s some water proof sub-aqua kit you can get for scuba poets / unemployed people who want to spent all day submerged in a steaming tub full of Mate Bubble Bath. If not I might try & invent it.

  6. There must be waterproof iPhone cases

  7. There are: I’m going to hook it up to a wall-mounted screen, & make my bath my office.

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