I am falling victim to a commom malady called "writing zombie-ism." The Zombie Writer is recognizable by a number of clear symptoms:
1. Walking stiffly, as a result of spinal compression due to sitting most of the time
2. Clenched hands, which have become gnarled from using a pen or keyboard
3. A perpetually glazed expression, and the tendency to speak in monosyllables, if at all, in response to well-meaning attempts at conversation. This is due to the fact that the zombie is not actually present with the speaker, but is living inside his or her imaginary world
4. The tendency to mumble to himself or herself while performing mundane tasks. See above.
5. An unkempt appearance, including rumpled clothes and wild hair, as a result of rushing to his or her desk immediately after waking, and then subsequently losing all track of time.
6. The tendency to eat nothing for long periods of time, and then suddenly be overcome with the urge to eat, at which time s(he) either empties out the refrigerator, or orders and consumes an entire large, deluxe pizza
7. The tendency to prowl around at night, unable to sleep but also too exhausted to write, resulting in daytime sleepiness, paleness and optical sensitivity to sunlight.
8. Lack of communication with family and friends
These symptoms, however, can be relieved in several ways.
1. The sudden arrival of friends whom the zombie invited over, and forgot all about
2. The sudden arrival of friends who want to make sure the zombie hasn't fallen and can't get up
3. A sick child throwing up on the computer
4. A child who is not sick, but positions himself on the writer's lap in such a way that no matter how the writer moves her head, she cannot see the screen
5. A dog (or cat) who throws up on the writer's feet
6. Spousal yelling (not recommended)
7. Being "kidnapped" for a dinner out by said spouse (recommended)
8. Completion of a manuscript (rare)
9. Publication (even rarer)