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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story about trying to come up with inspiration. Not based on fact!!

Submitted: October 21, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 21, 2016





I had not been able to think of one word to write for over a month. I just could not come up with any ideas at all. Nothing at all poetic, no topics for essays......and as for story lines, forget it!


A friend suggested writing a diary – just as a way of putting pen to paper again. The idea was that once started, I’d be able to carry on. There was a limit to how many times I could sit and write, ‘Tried and failed to write anything.’ That sentence was not bringing about any inspiration at all. In fact, it was beginning to become deeply depressing.


I would have to come up with an idea of my own, something that might rekindle the old creative spark. And eventually I decided to try a change of scene. I would go off on my own – just for a weekend. My trusty laptop would accompany me. The hard drive contained my music, my reading, and there was unlikely to be no internet access.


It wasn’t hard to find a small cottage for a weekend. The holiday season was now over and there seemed to be plenty of people prepared to let me rent one of their properties for a couple of days. In fact, choosing one became a distraction in itself, but eventually I settled on one just half an hours drive from home. I would not tell anyone where I was going though; I’d take my phone but leave it turned off. It would be for emergency situations only.


Food I’d take with me. I wouldn’t even have to stop for a bottle of milk. A change of clothes, should I need them and that, together with my laptop bag, was all I needed to take. I didn’t want to go into any explanations of the reason for my absence. What could I say, after all? And I’d only be gone for two days! I hastily scribbled a note, left it in an obvious place, got into my car and drove away.


Half an hour up the road, I turned into a driveway, trying to park my car where it would not be too easily seen from the road. One could never know who might be passing and I didn’t want people I knew to see it and invite themselves for a visit. The whole purpose was isolation – an isolation that would hopefully lead to creativity. The key was left underneath a stone outside the door as agreed so I quickly let myself indoors, carrying my bags with me.


I put my grocery supplies away in the kitchen, carried my clothes upstairs, and put my laptop onto the kitchen table. The kitchen was at the back of the house away from the road. The window looked out onto a small garden that should in no way prove distracting. I decided to make myself a coffee then get straight to work. The less time I wasted the more I’d be able to achieve.


The laptop starts up, I log in, start up my writing program and......nothing. I look at the screen, sip my coffee, look back to the screen. Maybe I’ll just make a quick snack. I don’t feel hungry but it will save me stopping later once I get typing away.


One cheese and onion sandwich later, the taste of which clashes nastily with the coffee, and I’m back. I create a new document – no title as yet because I have no idea what I am about to type – and then I sit there again, drumming my fingers in frustration on the table’s edge. Where have all my ideas gone?


Okay, I’ll just make a start. Random words and short sentences will do, so long as I am putting something down. It’s not making sense. There’s nothing connecting any of it, no underlying pattern at all. I put my elbows on the table in front of the laptop, hold my head in my hands and glare at that mocking screen.


How did it come to this? I have been writing for years; freelance articles, short stories, scripts for local amateur theatre companies, and even the occasional novel. Now, it has all gone, deserted me.


The quiet of the room is broken only by the tick of the clock, the hum of the fridge. And then another noise, a pittering, pattering noise. I tell myself it’s nothing, to stop prevaricating and just get on with it. Fingers back on the keys, I’ll go with random again, see if this time there is anything concrete to work on.


And there it is again! That clicking noise, a scraping and scratching. It seems to be coming from the walls. It’s not so hard to come up with an explanation though, is it?

Mice! I’m sitting in an unfamiliar kitchen, the sun is starting to set, and the mice are beginning to get restless.


I’m not too worried about the mice providing they stay in the walls. I’ve spent most of my life living in the country and it doesn’t take long to realise that vermin are just a part of everyday existence. This noise, though, that is going to be totally and utterlydistracting!


Okay, I’ll listen to music. That will drown them out! I can’t stand the laptop speakers though. No matter how much I fiddle around with the audio settings I can’t stop anything from sounding tinny. Did I bring my headphones? I rummage around in my laptop bag and, yes, there’s an old pair in there.


Another half an hour is spent compiling a playlist of all my favourite tracks – okay, some of my favourite tracks – which I set up to play on repeat. All the time I am doing this, the scratching echoes out from behind the skirting boards. There’s definitely more than one of them unless they’ve set up a stereo sound system. The scraping is now coming from two different sides of the room!


I’m not going to give in. I came here to write and writing is what I am going to do, mice or not. Headphones on, fingers on the keys. I’m going to create yet another text document and......There’s a movement, off to my left. I’m sure of it.


I get up, walk around the room. It takes me a while to convince myself that there is nothing there; that the movement I saw was a trick of the light or imagination (I wish!) and nothing more. Headphones back on, tapping those keys – nonsense still but at least I’m keeping it going, when I feel something run over the top of my foot.


I leap up in the air, narrowly rescuing my laptop from falling to it’s death after I forgot how short the headphone cable was. And there it is! It isn’t a mouse though, not unless it has been on a prolonged course of steroids and growth hormones. Nope, the creature that just ran across my foot and is now eyeing me warily is most definitely a rat. I look for something to throw at it, anything. I pull my shoe off my foot and fling that!


Well, at least it has disappeared back to wherever it came from. I hop over and retrieve my shoe, put it back on my foot and sit back down in front of the screen. It is still waiting for me to type a sentence and that’s just what I do. ‘Here be rats!’ Not much of one, I know, but the first I have come up with in a month.


And wouldn’t you know it! They decide to prove me right. Two of them scamper across the room, right in front of me. Enough! I’m not going to stay in here. I stand up, stamp my feet and jump up and down just to make those verminous creatures vanish while I collect my stuff together and go back to my car.


I put my bag and my groceries into the boot and am about to climb in to the drivers seat when I pause. I climb into the back seat and fire up my laptop again. The battery is showing as full so I get typing away and this is the result. Not Shakespeare, Hemingway, or anyone else, but at least the words have finally unblocked!

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