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Writer's block

Today is a quiet day, a calm Saturday after a busy week.  I'm sitting at my desk with a Costière de Nîmes, a leftover from lunch.  Before me is my laptop, humming peacefully.  I am trying to write.  Blogs only make sense when they are active.  Mine is a disaster.  What can I write about?  My brain seems as empty as the text document I just opened.  Another sip of wine will help.  I am staring at the screen.

It is amazing how easy letters can be made to appear on the screen.  Fingers hit keys, and characters materialize almost instantaneously.  What they don't do, unfortunately, is line up in a way that makes sense – or at least reflects my thoughts.  For the next five minutes I tap on the keyboard more or less randomly.  I have now firmly established that all keys are working.  There is no excuse for continued failure to write.  I persistently massage the black machine in front of me.  The proverbial monkeys wouldn't do this any differently.  I feel rather simian, and what I'm producing isn't Shakespeare.  That would probably not change even if I kept at it for another eternity or two.  My head is starting to spin.

It is a Saturday in December, and it's freezing outside.  It's not much better inside because of my trying to save money and the world.  But how am I supposed to write with stiff fingers?  I go to the kitchen to make tea.  A blissful quarter of an hour away from the hundred square inches of LCD that have been glowing at me disdainfully for too long already.  I observe water coming to a boil, then liberate two biscuits from their plastic prison and install them on a small glass plate.  Finally, the tea that is done by now, the glass plate with the biscuits, and a little spoon are all united on a tray, and travel back to my living room with me.  Back at my desk, my opponent is greeting me well-rested, ready to fight any outburst of creativity, I fear.

I wonder if Notepad is any better than Word for bringing my wisdom to life.  I close one and open the other.  The virgin page that pops up is all but indistinguishable from the one I just sent to data nirvana.  Moving my fingers fills the page with black squiggles, but I can still not discern any meaning.  The computer is starting to annoy me.  Noxious vibrations are emanating from its wireless card.  They stifle my creativity, keep me from writing, from expressing myself.  At a click of the mouse the laptop goes dark.  Then I close the lid and pull the plug, just to be safe.

On a little side table sits my spiral notepad, my faithful companion.  I take it, put it in front of me, and open it.  It's big, it's red, and its pages are mostly blank.  I am ready to change this.  A surge of energy is welling up from deep inside me.  Where is the valve to let it out?  Somewhere here must be my favorite pen.  My eyes are first to catch it, my hand follows rapidly.  It feels good to finally start.  Circles and squares are flowing effortlessly in fine blue ink.  The page is soon covered with an intricate pattern.  I'm as distant from anything approaching meaningful writing as I have been all afternoon.  What am I doing here?

It's five o'clock and getting dark outside.  The intense labor has taken its toll.  I have to eat and rest.  For tomorrow, the meteo is forecasting another beautiful winter day, and I know what I'll be doing.  Nothing will be distracting me from working hard on my prose.

3 December 2005