He’d finished putting down the first sentence. And then the second. And then the third and on and on, but even as he typed away he had no idea what was going to come next. Was he going to have a story or would it all just end up being a lot of nonsense? Non-sequiturs?
He’d typed the first paragraph, stopped and read it over and over again. He still had no idea what it meant or what it was about.
He tried to think of something.
Maybe something comic, he thought. How about a story about goats?
He remembered his friend telling him about a funny incident in St. Maarten, where his friend was working as the conductor/pianist at an hotel and how, one day, his friend had gotten up and tried to leave his apartment only to have the door blocked by a goat standing across the door, in front of the entrance, and who wouldn’t move no matter what he did – the goat simply stood there until it was ready to move on, locking him inside.
Okay, he thought, that was a funny incident, to him, probably because it happened to his friend and his friend told it to him, but probably not to anyone who wasn’t there struggling to get out of their apartment.
He couldn’t think of anything else that his readers would consider funny.
And so he sat – staring at the computer screen, hoping that some miracle would happen – the proverbial “inspiration”, and his fingers would start marching across the keys again…
How about something sad? No! He immediately decided against that. His readers would not enjoy something sad. Besides, what sad event could he write about that would be of interest to his readers, or any readers? Readers don’t intentionally read about sad things unless they relate to some more important incident – a world event, for example, and then everyone feels sad about the results of the circumstances. One simply didn’t write a Sad Story and then expect everyone to finish reading it and say how much they enjoyed reading it. That was worse than a non-sequitur, that was just a stupid idea.
On and on he went. Sorting through memories, going over ideas and yet nothing intrigued him. Nothing seemed good enough to inflict the torture he felt re-reading the paragraphs he’d typed on anyone else.
He hit the delete key on his computer; closed the Word document and then the Word program, and shut down his computer.
Now what was he going to do, he wondered?
“I can’t seem to write anything new today and yet I feel the need to write something,” he said aloud.
It was an awful feeling. He wondered if drug addicts felt like this when they needed a fix. It was almost as if he needed his daily “fix” of putting words on paper.
He knew of writers who wrote every day because they were afraid they wouldn’t be able to write if they didn’t. Was he one of them? He didn’t think so. Then why this compulsion today? And why his inability to fulfill his need?
He looked around his apartment. What could he do? What did he want to do? Read? Watch television?
No to both.
And then a new idea came into his head. One that had never been there before and he had no idea where it came from.
Maybe he should start painting, he wondered.
A few minutes later he was in his car and driving to the local artist supply.
He had no idea what to try to paint or even if he could produce anything that resembled anything worth looking at but, at that moment, it didn’t matter.
He was happy driving to the store. Happy that he was doing something – new. And it didn’t matter what happened next, he was doing something and as he drove he began to think about writing about it – he was back where he’d started, only now he had an idea what to write about.
Now he could go back to his computer, wait for it to boot up, open Word and start typing.
He turned his car around and drove home.
He was no longer worried. He was simply happy that he’d be writing and that was enough.