I write all day, every day, often into the night. Only one problem. None of it ever gets on paper. While our morning meal boils and bubbles, I mentally compose an utterly, utterly delightful story for girls and/or boys, 4 to 6 or 7 to 10. (At breakfast time my mind seldom thinks above 10.)
Milk spills, eggs break as they slide into the poaching water, toast refuses to brown. I quickly concoct several related household hints for my Cookbook-of-the-Future.
What a cookbook that will be! - hundreds of delectable recipes. And clever (oh so clever), humorous (oh so humorous) anecdotes will make the book irresistible to cookbook collectors everywhere.
The children's story and household hints already are in my mental filing cabinet. The cookbook joins them.
Now Short Stories step fully clothed from my imagination like Venus from Jupiter's head. (Or was it Jove's and Diana? I must check my Greek - or was it Roman? - myths.)
No use writing the story, however. Last week at a writers' conference, the editor of a national women's magazine stated, ''We receive a hundred stories a day!'' I'll just file mine with the children's story, household hints, and cookbook. One of these days they'll come begging for my manuscripts.
Oh dear, the vacuuming won't wait another day. Never mind. That will give me time to think about the play that I've been considering for the past year. Let's see, the scene is ''heaven.'' How will I set the scene? Maybe a glorified office. Everyone will be the same age . . . will live in harmony . . . no wars . . . no politics.
Would anyone buy such a happy play, a play without a problem? No, I'd better file that until I find some heavenly complication.
I read the newspaper. An item reminds me of a story (not another!) to end all stories. I'll need a crisis for that all-important opening sentence. Hmmm . . . .
By now it is late afternoon and my adult creativity reaches its zenith. That earlier story bit, it occurs to me, is definitely universal. It just may make the beginning of The Great American Novel.
I consider characters for my Great American Family. The father? Let's say he's at the age where life begins - 40. His wife? She'll be 39. They'll have a child. Son or daughter? I ponder this important question.
Why not both? I'll have the daughter four years older than the son. Then when they go off to college it will be easier on the family budget. No, no, that's ridiculous. That can be a complication. In fact, I'll have them go at the same time. I know - I'll have them twins!
Dinnertime arrives, during which I think of more recipes for you-know-what. After dishes are washed and put away, I am finally ready to sit down and give my trusty typewriter a workout on some of my ideas. I put paper between the rollers , turn the knob. There. Now what shall it be?
But wait! What about those three letters I have to write? Our parents will think we have dropped off the earth, and there's Elizabeth, our little girl. (She'd laugh if she could hear me say that. She's 23.) But she's in the Big Apple trying for a spot on television, and she needs encouragement.
Three letters later, can it be 11 o'clock? Yes, I hear Jim with the late news. I'd better get things ready for tomorrow's breakfast.
Well, off to bed, but I'll think of a poem before I go to sleep. A whole flock of similes, metaphors, and hyperboles jumps through my mind like little lambs. They settle around me like a comforting blanket. ''How lovely,'' I whisper, and slip into slumberland thinking, ''Yes, I'll like being a poet.''
Morning. I try to recall all those lovely little lambs, but, alas, sleep has erased them, every one.
So here I am this morning where I was yesterday morning - getting breakfast, making toast, thinking another children's story. Only this morning the toast does brown and I don't break the eggs.