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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
They say you should write about what you know...

Submitted: January 31, 2008

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 31, 2008



Oh Christ. He could feel the blockage seeping over him. Nerve-endings deadened as his eyes searched the room in a scattershot attempt to find inspiration somewhere. The hard drive hummed by his knee and the monitor in front of him cruelly spat bright white light into the atmosphere where words should have been.

‘Where did it go?’ he asked himself. ‘I had it yesterday and the day before… why has it suddenly forsaken me?’
He had thought the worst was over. Block had dominated the past six months, but in the past two weeks he’d felt an inexorable build up. A sudden enthusiasm gripped him and, without explicitly admitting it to himself, he’d grown positive that soon something would come out. Finally, he had two days where ideas had hurtled into his world, uninvited but entirely welcome.
He had felt the buzz of scooping up the speeding words and trying as hard as he could to scratch them down on paper, hacking at his notebook with a biro. Words, glorious words spilling forth as though he’d knocked over a vessel filled with his own talent. And yes, at that point, he felt he had talent. When words flowed like that, he heard the glowing words of English teachers in the past, admiring spouses and mother and father, their gentle encouragement echoing and reminding him that once he had potential.
‘Christ’ he’d thought, as word after word appeared before his unblinking eyes. ‘They were right. I am talented. I can do this. I can write for a living after all! Joy of joys!’
In the middle of that creative burst, his hand started to hurt, halfway through the second day. To ease his gripped fist, he violently flicked the ‘on’ switch of his decrepit computer, almost jogging on the spot with impatience as it fired up. He clumsily clicked on the Word processor icon and tutted as it opened, painfully slowly.
Eventually, after waiting for the computer to settle itself, he was able to type up what he’d written so far – what must’ve been a good three thousand words of raw, workable prose. So he set about typing it up.
Again – all became well with the world. He even surprised himself with the quality of the stream of handwritten blurb he’d put down. Every sentence strutted along its line like a well-decorated peacock, certain of its own magnificence. He embellished those lines that were weaker with extra sentiment, chopping words out that were too pedestrian, emphasising those that carried indisputable weight. Occasionally a line would jump out which caused him to sit back, taking a deep satisfied breath.
‘Did that really come from me?’ he’d think, smiling with the pleasure of this auto-pilot, stream-of-consciousness happiness. Writing like this was an event rather than work, - a wonderful party at which he was merely a contented observer. Parts of his brain that had gone untapped for months were suddenly fizzing into action. With no idea of what caused the outpouring, all he could do was submit to its will.
But soon the scraps of paper he’d referred to stumbled to a close, a completely open ending. He’d even finished mid-sentence, one word trailing off, directionless and impotent. Where he’d seen acres of wonderful characters and avoided checking his progress using the word-count function, where he’d gone with the flow and not worried about the consequences, he was now faced with the final word he’d written, half in agony from holding the biro rigid. It had come to an end. He was left staring at what followed that unfinished clause. A full page of white nothingness. A bleached white desert landscape inhabited by nothing. A computerised emptiness. A static whitewash. No words for the word processor to process.

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