I've got this invitation to a banquet in New York: come and eat a hundred-dollar meal, wear black tie (around my hair?), and hear famous men discuss their famous selves.
But how will Im get famous if I don't stay home and work?
Dear Cousin Henry, my manager and muse, insists I ought to meet such Useful Types. "You've got to hustle these days," he says, "and there's no inspiration here in the boondocks. So get yourself together and drive up to New York. But first can you help me with. . . ."
But when will I get my own work done?
A fish head lies in the middle of the floor, left by the kitten. The kitten is sitting high on the kitchen shelf, curled atop my Imari platter, just evaluated at a hundred dollars. The kitten stretches and wants to be petted. He is awfully fishy and needs a wash. But when will I get my own work done?
My friend, the trumpeter, phones: he's low. "My horn is busted, and so am I."
"Come," I say, "repair your horn, come blow your horn for me. We'll talk about forming a little orchestra. Cousin HEnry's working on his violin. . . ."
So I serve him herb tea, O little boy blue, and a dish of sympathy, and restore his ego, straighten out his case, organize a musicale. But when will I get my own work done?
The postman knocks. I leaf the mail and dream of checks, acceptances, invitations to some ball. My banker wants to see me about a little matter, and so do a number of creditors. All I've got a promissory notes. . . rejection slips. . . guests descending on me my work? How to hustle up and pay those bills? Letter from New York reiterates: Come to the banquet, just one hundred bucks. But when will I get my own work done?
My stepmother stops by and stabs the Muenster cheese. My daddy asks who won the Civil War. I ask which one, and he asks for water. I say I'll take him fishing later. Ten people call, want to come to supper. But when will I get -- .
The sink is stopped up with odds and ends. The boss telephones: "Where have you gone?" Newspapers wait, unread, on the table. The kitten meows and wants to be fed.
I'm out of fish and tea and symp. Cousin Henry comes in with a button to be sewn. The neighbor's dog has scattered my trash. The kitten leaps and the platter breaks. My dowry is shattered and the kitten's in my lap.
"Well, got yourself together for the banquet in New York?" asks Cousin HEnry. He checks the empty soup pot o the stove.
"My car's on strike and my clothes are out of style, so how would I arrive for a banquet in New York?"
He writes me a check and sends me to my desk. He cuts the onions for the soup, then goes off to play his violin. I finally address an envelope.
"I'm sorry but I'm writing. Too busy to black-tie it. I enclose one check. Please send one meal. And thank you for thinking of me."
I'll share it with the kitten and Cousin HEnry, too.
Now must sweep the shards and sew the button, feed the kitten and juggle the banks, see who'll buy my stories and stir my symp. . . ."
Now the soup is started and while it cooks, I use what inspiration is here in the boondocks, write my stories and hustle up a storm, and somehow get my own work done.