Dante Papier

Written by

Dante Papier

28 July 2021

Novlr Authors

Writer’s Block Diary: Algorithm ‘n’ Blues

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.

12 July:

The country is sad because we lost the football. (As in we lost the football tournament, we haven’t simply lost a football!) I’ve never liked football. I can’t understand why, instead of reading Tolstoy, anybody would choose to watch people kicking a ball instead. My dislike of the sport probably stems from my school PE days, when I was always chosen last. I usually ended up as ‘Referee’s Assistant’, which I suspect is a made-up role.

13 July:

Had a great Scotch egg from Sainsbury’s today. As well as pork and egg, it contained caramelised onion. Incredible! But I am troubled. The packaging features a badge which reads “Summer Edition” – I fear that the caramelised onion is a seasonal addition that won’t be around for long. Have written to Sainsbury’s to enquire.

On my way back from the shop, a white limousine containing several children drove past, presumably en route to some kind of birthday party. As it passed me, a child shouted out of the window, “You only have one life, so use it well!”. I thought this was excellent advice, especially from a child. It made me think about my own life, and how I could “use it” better. Kindness, patience and tolerance are far more important than bitterness, grudges and resentment. Have vowed to remember this.

14 July:

Went to the park to read Tolstoy, only to find that an idiot man had set up one of those stupid tightrope things between two trees, right in front of my favoured reading spot. I cannot stand these people. They are scum. Why must they parade themselves about like that in public? I came to the park to read, not watch some inane circus display. In the end, I was only able to manage half a page of Tolstoy (half a page!) before the distraction of this idiot man and his stupid waving arms become too much to bear. I set my book aside and spent the next hour watching and willing him to suffer an injurious fall. Sadly, he was quite skilled.

15 July:

Went to the pub to read Tolstoy but was distracted by a folk band playing in the corner. Found them irritating at first but began to warm to them after a couple of whiskeys. After a third whiskey I asked if I could join in. It was only when I was handed a guitar that I realised I knew no chords or songs, so I began strumming the strings and repeatedly singing the words “Bob Dylan”. After around four minutes, when it became clear that the other musicians were not planning to join in, I brought the song to a close, and told them it was one of Dylan’s more experimental early works.

Thought of an excellent title for a novel on the way home: Algorithm ‘n’ Blues. Not sure exactly what it would be about.

16 July:

Saw Doctor Caldwell. Told him my Writer’s Block is showing no signs of abating. Whilst I am just about managing to write this diary, I am still unable to write poems, plays, novels, novellas or short stories. He suggested I try a new creative outlet, such as drawing, to “get my creative juices flowing”. I told him this was preposterous – my art practice is, and has only ever been, writing – but he insisted it might work. Will give it some thought. I have never drawn anything in my life.

Attempted to draw a cat:

17 July:

Have downloaded an app called ‘Drink Free Days’, which is designed to help you have more drink free days. I’m a little troubled by my alcohol consumption, which I suspect has doubled since my writer’s block began. I entered my details into the app, including my age, sex and how much I tend to drink each day of the week. According to Drink Free Days, I currently drink more than 90% of males my age. This is ridiculous – there was nowhere within the app for me to specify that I am a writer. Of course I drink more than non-writers, but how does my drinking compare with that of other authors and litterateurs? Have written to the developer to suggest the addition of an ‘Are you a writer?’ field to the initial questionnaire.

18 July:

Attempted to draw pain: