There’s a Frog in My Keyboard

English: head of waterfrog (Rana esculenta) Fr...

English: head of waterfrog (Rana esculenta) Français : tête de grenouille verte (Rana esculenta) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An unfortunate state of affairs, because the letter “f” on my laptop sticks.  About a third of the time when I hit it nothing appears, another third I remember to come down extra hard, and I get three fffs in a row.  But I digress.

You know what I mean, when you don’t have actual laryngitis, but what comes out when you open your mouth is not reliable.

I’m taking a day off from the WIP today, because I’m not sure what my next scene is.  Rather than stare at the cursor and sob, I decided to take a break.  At first thought, the problem is I need a bridge chapter or so to get where I’m headed, in terms of plot and character growth.  I’m also at a point in the work where as I’ve added subtext and subplot, the shape of the whole beast is called into question.  I can keep it on the same light track I’ve been on, or I can take it deeper, shifting the style and tone.   As I engage in this self indulgent pondering, I’m realizing there’s something horribly familiar to this line of thought.  (Let’s be honest, Mrs Fringe excels at self-indulgent exercises.)  Prior manuscripts?  Sure, there are always points where you have to step back and think about what makes the most sense before pushing forward.

The familiarity breeding contempt, having me wonder if the whole damned thing sucks and should be scrapped?  It’s the feeling that I’m on a similar page in life.  Coming up on a plot twist, and just not sure how to write it, or even what it should be, but I know something has to happen.

Contemplation #1

Contemplation #1 (Photo credit: Ed Yourdon)

This morning I was on the elevator with a kid whose hair looked like a cross between Don King and Gerald,

Hey Arnold!

Hey Arnold! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the best friend with the impossibly high “fade” from Hey Arnold.  Man Child was about four years old when he fell in love with that show, and tried desperately to explain to the gal at Supercuts that he wanted that haircut, while I tried desperately to explain to him that his hair was a different texture, and could never be sculpted into a cylindrical afro that defied gravity.

If you aren’t familiar with it, Hey Arnold was an animated series that ran on Nickelodeon for 6? 8? years, beginning in the mid to late ’90’s.  It was a great show, with fully fleshed out characters, both kids and adults, real problems, and real heart demonstrating life for members of the fringe in a big (fictitious) city.

I began the day thinking I’d like to hide from the WIP and read. Bury myself in my favorite books until I was saturated in Updike, spiked with Joyce Carol Oates, crying Magaret Atwood and bleeding Stephen King.  But maybe not, maybe I should turn on the tv and find some Hey Arnold reruns to remember who I am and the pitch of my voice, as a woman on the fringe trying not to let go.


  1. Loved the Hey Arnold idea! R was a huge fan of that show, too, and we always thought it was well done. Commiserating with the frog in the keyboard, too. Although mine might be a demon. Lately it’s been inhabiting both the ‘m’ and the ‘a’ keys.:/


  2. The frog in the keyboard must have come from our place. 🙂 Can you pop the key cap off and clean around the part that actually makes the key work and put it back on again? My boys have to do that all the time with theirs due to their um, messy habits while on the computer. Heh.

    I will simply inform you that your WIP does not suck and should not be scrapped. Where else it should go I have no idea, but that I will tell you. So there. 😀

    I remember Hey Arnold!


    1. I’ve tried cleaning under the cap, all it accomplished is the key now sits at an angle :p

      Thank you ❤ and now I'm really wishing I could find some reruns, though it's been fun watching the Brady Bunch with Flower Child.


    1. The good part to being back to writing regularly is that I have confidence I’ll figure out the next plot turn, it just isn’t *right here, right now*

      If it isn’t in my mind when I wake up tomorrow, I’ll use the time to revamp an older short I want to submit 🙂

      And I’m now wondering if frog legs really do taste like chicken. 😉


  3. Hey Arnold was a fantastic show, I do agree! So much children’s programming in the 80’s and 90’s was (or seemed to me at the time) to be well thought out and story driven. The Adventures of Pete and Pete would be another (non cartoon) example.


    1. I’m not so familiar with the shows of the 80’s, but there were several excellent ones during the 90’s.

      Welcome to Mrs Fringe, thanks for joining the conversation!


  4. That indecision can be hard to get through, but breakthroughs do occur with all problems. Just keep chipping away at it. And I have never thought of Hey Arnold! as a way to get over a writing hump, but now I see the connection. Arnold is good for so many things.


    1. Hi JW, thanks for stopping by and welcome to Mrs Fringe!
      Thanks for the good thoughts. I’m going to start a new movement, the Hey Arnold! method of writing 😉


  5. Glad you are stepping back & giving that frog a break. Your story will be all the better for it. BTW Their legs do taste like chicken. When your son proudly learns a new sport & fries them up to try, what’s a good moma to do but take a tentative taste.


  6. Sorry! Been AWOL for awhile. Glad to be somewhat back. I have a lot to catch up on! On the frog legs….get in touch with your adventuresome side! I figured if no one died from frog legs, how could I hurt my proud son’s feelings. 😀 No excuse seemed worth it.


    1. LOL, I’m not opposed to people eating frog legs, I think Nerd Child tried them once when we were on vacation. I’m a vegetarian, have been for a gazillion years, I wouldn’t eat a burger either 😉


  7. Frog legs really DO taste like chicken. I speak from experience. My little guy actually really likes them. Enjoyed this post/entry.


  8. You’ve inspired me to do another book review. Don’t know why people like them, but they do. Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man by Joseph Heller…all about an author who had a huge success, then couldn’t follow it up. Autobiograpnical, and a tour of the muddled head of a writer trying to come up with a work to redeem himself…but Heller died before he could finish it. Not recommended.


    1. That is always a fascinating phenomenon. Look at Harper Lee. I would imagine it’s paralyzing to experience staggering success with a first novel. Not that I’d know, but…


      1. An Irish saying: “The worst thing that can happen to a young man is to bet large on his first horse race, and win.” Don’t succeed young, or you’ll be asked to do it again…and again…and again. Too much pressure for me.


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