Feeding The Habit

"I will go in this Way, Oh but I will find my own way out." -Dave Matthews

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Writers Block

I was making a way through the many rows of books. There were people everywhere bending and standing. Pouring themselves over the back covers of paperbacks they would buy and never read. Sticking their asses out far enough with each bend to trip me in my delicate progress.

The cup of coffee was warm and smooth. I cradled it against my chest hoping to protect it, hoping against all odds not to spill one drop. It was hard though. Because my focus was divided between that cup and the current quest. I approached the end of each shelf with hopeful eyes. At last! I found an empty chair.

I settled into its soft embrace. It was a rare find indeed as I am generally forced to retire to the hard backed chairs pushed against the wooden study desks. This was a magical day. This time I would read in comfort like I always wanted. Let the old man who got up to take a piss look at me with jealousy. This was my time, and for now, my chair.

I fretted for a few moments over the new dilemma: there was no desk to set my cup of coffee on. I tried to balance it carefully on the arm of the chair. I watched in dismay as the cup teetered and let some of the dark fragrance slip over the edge and onto the worn fabric. I swore over the chairs good luck. This simply would not do. There were eyes resting on me as I considered my options.

At last I got up. And side stepped quickly. At the end of it all, it was a wrinkled, wry looking woman that replaced me. Her contender, the little boy with the Curious George book, he looked as if he might cry. The woman just beamed. I retreated to the wooden chair and set my coffee deliberately down on the desk, gave a little “harrumph,” then swore again as some splashed out onto my thumb and burned me. Sometimes you just can’t win.

I opened one of the three writer’s journals that I snagged from the magazine rack.
Page one: Thirteen Tricks to Tease Yourself into Writing.
I sighed.

I figure real writers probably never open a writers journal with hopes for anything more than a good laugh. But I am a real writer. And I was opening a writers journal. Or should I have a Question Mark on that sentence two back. I wondered if William Faulkner ever sat surrounded by pages and thought, “What the hell do I do with these things?” I wonder if he then shuffled them up a bit and reread some to see if it sounded any better all out of order. Hell, maybe that’s how he got the stream of consciousness thing going. I don’t know. It never seems to work for me.

Trick number one is “keeping your workspace tidy.” Maybe I should clean up a bit. Maybe I should throw the pages up to the wind and leave every story unfinished; open like the mind of Curious George. It would be a new writing technique. Possibly i could even win some novel style award. Then there would be no doubt I am a writer. Everyone else would believe it and that would be enough to convince me. Someday I'll have to try it.

But in the mean time, I suppose I will just let those pages be scattered around. I’ll let the words fall down like an anvil. Let them crash like thunder if they want to. Then when it's over, I’ll make the end something of a mystery. The important thing is found in caring for a good cup of coffee anyway. It's not like William Faulkner ever thought of that. It's not likely he ever will.