My Misery Mouse Pad

She is always there when I start working. Grinning benevolently from her spot by my keyboard. She looks like my grandmother—an avid gardener with a quirky knitted hat and vests, a booming laugh. But unlike my granny, this lady is armed with anesthetic needles and a sledgehammer.

Meet my mouse pad, featuring Kathy Bates as Annie Wilkes from Stephen King’s masterpiece, Misery. If you don’t know the novel, here’s a quick rundown: Annie Wilkes, an ex-nurse and superfan of author Paul Sheldon, rescues him after a car accident. She is overjoyed to have her hero under her care in her remote home. But there’s a twist—Annie is unstable and dangerously obsessed.

Minor spoiler alert:

Misery mouse pad deadline bureau

Paul is bedridden and completely at her mercy. Annie is thrilled to take care of her hero, until she discovers his new, unpublished manuscript and finds out that Paul plans to kill off the beloved main character, Misery.

Well, not on her watch. She forces Paul to write a completely new story, her way.

Writing is a lot like Paul’s ordeal. It’s thrilling, daunting, especially when you don’t know where the story is headed. It requires bravery, perseverance, and sometimes, a little external pressure. That’s where Annie, or rather the idea of her, comes in handy.

Dependence, rebellion, addiction

Paul is dependent on Annie, she has those magic pills that keep the pain away. When Paul is rebellious and tries to do other things than writing, Annie has persuasive means to get him to write again.

Stephen King’s Misery isn’t just a horror story: it’s a deep dive into the struggles of both writing and addiction. Paul’s journey of writing under duress mirrors the addictive rush of creating something compelling, sometimes (often) as a means of escape. Paul has to write for a living. For his life. Which gives you that mythical ‘need’ or necessity established artists like to talk about. When you’re at a point of no return, when you can’t do anything else. But the start is always awkward. You have to let yourself get addicted. Move beyond the fear.

Writers, both novices and pros, know how hard it is to keep going. That’s why I chose to have Annie Wilkes watch over me, from my self made mouse pad. Her gentle smile is a reminder to create my best work yet. But if I slack off, well, you get the idea. You dirty birdy.

Glum knowledge

Stephen King captures it perfectly: the joy of starting, the fear of never finishing, the thrill of the journey. “As always, the blessed relief of starting, a feeling that was like falling into a hole filled with bright light. As always, the glum knowledge that he would not write as well as he wanted to write. As always, the terror of not being able to finish, of accelerating into a brick wall. As always, the marvelous joyful nervous feeling of a journey began.”

I wanted to print that quote on a mouse pad but Annie’s face captured all of that and more, plus the eerie resemblance to my lovely grandmother who introduced me to the joy of scary stories.

Need an Annie Wilkes deadline? Set one for yourself. Mark it in bold red on your calendar and dive in. Or let us set one for you. We will be your Annie. Minus the sledgehammer of course.

What motivational image would (or did) you print or a mouse pad or a coffee mug?
We’d love to hear your story:

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