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Jane Sherman; The Distraction Devil

17 Mar

Guest Bio: Jane Sherman received her MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University in 2011 and lives in Westport, CT.  An excerpt from Chapter 1 of her memoir appeared in Weston Magazine, which includes 7 other magazines in the group.  She blogs at http://hostileentry.com/

“Come on, check Facebook. You know you want to see what’s happened in the last ten minutes with your friends,” the Distraction Devil whispers in my ear as I gaze at the blank page on my computer screen. “No, I’m not going to waste this hour. I want to get a block of new writing down. Get out of my sight!” I reply. “OK, OK — have it your way.” The Distraction Devil slinks to the corner of the room, but he’s still there, weaseling his way back into my head, forcing me listen to his insistent voice. Bing. I hear another email message arriving. I could just see who it’s from. Perhaps it’s work related and I should just glance at it right now. But I resist, sigh and take a deep breath. I relax my shoulders. I ignore the Distraction Devil, who is jumping up and down just behind my shoulders, glowering like a maniac.

“I’ll get you, yet,” he says, gritting his teeth. He isn’t used to being ignored.

“Call from Cooper James,” the telephone announces.

Oh dear, it’s my daughter. I should answer. What if it’s important? What if she wants to talk over something crucial?

The muscles in my neck become tight. I consciously tense and then relax them so that the knot doesn’t develop into a worse spasm.

I don’t answer the phone, even though I want to. Maybe just one game of Solitaire would soothe my frazzled nerves. I know, however, that it’s never just one game. “Why don’t you indulge yourself? You deserve it. A game of Solitaire will relax you,” I hear the devil murmur. “Only one. You can manage that.” I know, however, that it’s never just one game. I glare at him as he turns his head away from me, attempting to conceal a smirk. I look at my desk on both sides of the keyboard. Every piece of paper in the pile on the right side of my desk is important. Still, it’s messy. I don’t like disorganization. I like neat. I should straighten up the pile, discard those papers that I can get rid of and make them line up so at least the pile looks good. My mind wanders even more. The Distraction Devil is still in my head. I hear him snickering behind me. He thinks he’s winning. The kitchen is dangerous territory. Maybe I’d believe that I’m hungry and need to eat something…anything to distract myself from what I truly want to do. “Stop,” I shout to the evil temptation hovering near me. “I choose not to be enticed by all these extraneous activities. Get in the cage, right now! Stay there and don’t say a single word! Don’t even clear your throat or sigh.

So today, I’ve battled the Distraction Devil and won this round. Of course, there’s always tomorrow. He’s using this time to design other techniques to distract me.

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