Ah, Hell.

I'm supposed to be writing an article for the Horn Book on translation. It's due to Arthur, my cowriter, tomorrow. And I am experiencing complete oh-my-lord-this-matters writing-brain freeze.

Actually I have already written my shitty first draft (to use the Anne Lamott phrase) and there are lots of good ideas in it. But trying to express those in smooth prose I'm proud of? Impossible. And it's 12:13 a.m.

12:14 a.m.

12:15 a.m.

This is why guys I like never call me back, by the way: The moment it matters, I get self-conscious and become a chattering icicle in eyeglasses. (Ten points to the first reader who identifies the reference.) And why I haven't been able to work on the Bad Novel in the last month: too damn nervous to write, because the vague intimations of Goodness in it terrified me. And also why I am swearing a lot in this post, because as everyone knows bad language is better than no language at all.

Can't I please, please edit someone else's writing instead? I'll send you all my thoughts on translation and you can write them for me, then I'll go over them and we'll have something great? Thanks.

12:22. I should stop whining and just get down to it. At moments like this I always remember the lovely first sonnet from Astrophil and Stella, which I studied in English Lit I long ago:

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
That she (dear She) might take some pleasure of my pain:
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain;
I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe,
Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain:
Oft turning others' leaves, to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sun-burn'd brain.
But words came halting forth, wanting Invention's stay,
Invention, Nature's child, fled step-dame Study's blows,
And others' feet still seem'd but strangers in my way.
Thus, great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite--
"Fool," said my Muse to me, "look in thy heart and write."

Or the twenty-first century version: "'Fool,' said my Muse to me, 'post to thy blog and write.'"

Here goes.