Polly McPoetess gets up at 6:30 a.m. with a terrible taste in her mouth and a morbid sense that the writing she managed to squeeze out the night before is actually quite awful. She immediately brushes her teeth and attempts to forget about her growing pile of unreadable verse. Once refreshed, she makes sure that she is prepared for the Writing Composition 101 class that she teaches at the local community college three days a week at 8:00 a.m. She starts her day off with a yogurt and packs a sandwich for her lunch. She eats cheaply, as she’s not sure if she’ll be asked back to teach again next semester—best to save up while she can.
In class, Polly attempts to inject some semblance of poetic merit into the curriculum, but her efforts are met with the limpest enthusiasm imaginable. During her lunch break, she rushes to the campus post office to send out a dozen batches of submissions to literary magazines across the country that she hopes might enjoy her work. She has been submitting poems twice weekly for the past two years, and once a small student-run publication from a neighboring community college even decided to publish one of her sonnets about love. It still bothers her that they had included it in their “Humor” section.
Once her full day of teaching classes (that are only moderately related to the poetry she longs to see published) has ended, she returns home to her three cats—Gus, Growltiger, and Old Deuteronomy—around 5:00 p.m. If she is lucky, her mailbox will contain a kindly worded rejection letter (she’s been wallpapering her bedroom with them for the past two years, and she’d really like to finish up that one corner by the nightstand), but mostly likely the poems she has been submitting for the past year have all been despised silently. Undaunted, she begins to write.
After two hours of staring at her notepad and getting down absolutely nothing, Polly remembers that she’s supposed to eat dinner at some point. She microwaves a can of soup, but as she is waiting for it to finish heating up, she is hit with sudden inspiration and rushes back to her notepad. Forty-five frantic minutes later, Polly has only written three lines, and her dinner is cold. She really needs to start eating more gazpacho. She reheats her soup dejectedly, pours herself a stiff drink, and turns on NPR.
Once in bed, Polly picks her notepad back up and begins to write in earnest. All the weight of her day spills forth, and between sips of her cocktail she is certain that she has finally hit on an idea that will earn her fame (doubtful), fortune (not likely), and a tenured position at the local university (now she’s cooking with gas). She falls asleep around 11:45 p.m. with her notepad still resting on her chest, having forgotten to brush her teeth.