The Diary of Dante Papier
Dante Papier is the mind-child of Novlr Author Daniel Piper, whom you can find on Instagram and substack and you can buy his book here. He has a column here on the Novlr blog (read his intro here). Enjoy.
6 June 2021:
Writer’s block is back. Last night it was so bad that I went to A&E. They would not see me – the inability to write is apparently considered neither accident nor emergency, which I find hard to believe. Saw Doctor Caldwell this morning. Told him (through tears) that whereas in 2020 I wrote 232 novels and 74,693 poems, this year I have managed not even a haiku. He suggested I start a diary. I told him diaries are for teenagers, bloggers and idiots, but he said it might just get me “back into the swing” of writing. I am sceptical, but I am desperate. I asked what my diary should contain. “Thoughts, observations and things that happen to you,” he said. My only hope is that this futile exercise will be short-lived. With any luck, this vulgar ‘diary’ will cure my writer’s block swiftly, and I will soon be able to return to the business of proper writing – poems, plays, novels, novellas, short stories, flash fictions, etc, etc.
Tried to write a sonnet. After three hours, had only written the word ‘Leg’.
7 June 2021:
Received COVID vaccine today. Had to go to the football stadium. Before administering the jab, the nurse asked if I was suffering from any allergies or illnesses. I told her about my writer’s block, but she did not seem concerned. I asked if there have been any clinic trials or studies exploring the effects of the vaccine on those with my condition – apparently there haven’t (which I find hard to believe). After receiving my Moderna, I was asked to remain seated in the waiting area in case of an allergic reaction. Because of the lack of research into how to vaccine interacts with writers block, I decided to stay a little longer to be on the safe side. At around the three hour mark I noticed that my arm was aching and swiftly alerted a medic, who told me that a dead arm is a normal side effect. I spent the next hour or so musing about how the ‘dead arm’ is a rather apt metaphor for writer’s block. A security guard eventually approached, and I asked if he had any thoughts on the matter. He asked me to make my way to the exit as the stadium was closing.
8 June 2021:
Went to a cafe in an attempt to write. Had to move 12 times because of students. Impossible not to be distracted by their loud, banal conversations about drugs, snapchat, tattoos, coursework, communism, electric scooters, drugs, alcohol and being sick. After moving for the twelfth time the barista asked if I was okay, and I told her that I despise students. She seemed put out – I suspect she was a student. On my way out I was almost hit by a student on an electric scooter. They are everywhere right now – it is an epidemic. Must write to council about them.
Spent the day toiling over my iPhone wallpaper, and whether it is a proper reflection of my personality. Decided to switch back to the default wallpaper (to reflect that I am the sort of person who doesn’t even have time to change their wallpaper, let alone care about such trivial matters). Later decided the default wallpaper made me look boring, so switched back to a picture of Samuel Johnson.
Thought I had written a poem, but realised it consisted entirely of dialogue from tonight’s episode of Eastenders.
Thought of an excellent joke. Decided to tweet it. Did not have a Twitter account, so created one. Tweeted the joke. No Likes.
Started writing a short story titled Jumanki. Realised halfway through that the plot was exactly the same as that of the film Jumanji.
Am drunk! Helped myself to a glass of whisky from the cupboard to see if it would help me to write, and ended up having six! (Just noticed that almost reads like ‘having sex’ – ha!) Feel great! Just re-read this week’s dairy entries and they are very very good! Was wrong to doubt Doctor Caldwater! Maybe a diary IS proper writing! What IS real writing anyway! IS a diary entry really any less valid than a sonnet or villanelle! Perhaps this is my calling! Dante Papier: Profesisonal Dairist! This calls for celebration! Am going to have another whisky!
Am writing this write now!
Am hungover. Head hurts (as does leg). Went to Tesco to buy Ibuprofen and was almost hit by four electric scooters on the way home. Must write to council about them. Just re-read this week’s diary entries. Not good.