There she sat at her desk. Just like every other day.
Different though. Today cloaked in a gray robe, with her
thoughts gray, colorless, unimaginative. She leaned
backed, folded her hands behind her head, rocked, stared
upward. The ceiling stared back from its neat rows of
tongue and grove planks. Her fingers drummed on the
keys. She lowered her gaze, refocused: the curser was
blinking, challenging, daring her to get on with her
creative writing. Nothing happened, no words magically
formed in front of her. She pushed her glasses up, they
tended to slide down, needed to be adjusted, would get
to that one day.
Nothing to inspire, not the many years of the good
past, her horse showing, piloting her own plane, travel,
travel, travel, developing a farm, getting her teaching
career underway, finding surfing, her mental good list
was long. The real bad past being fired for supporting
the have notís, making poor, poor mate selections, this
was a short list. The current year of living, tranquil.
Where was the problem? Was there a problem? There was
zilch. What about the future, even tomorrow, what was
there? All she wanted was an inspiration for story
How to show happiness, productivity, excitement on
the inside, anger on the outside? So, letís get on with
the positive. Go away depression; anger turned inward
she knew. Begin right now to be shedding hopes of the
easy way out. Just STOP IT! Get on with all the good in
life. Get on with something, anything. Misery was a
habit. She nodded in agreement. I was all in her head.
Her body reminded her of that. Was it some degree of
perfection? An acceptance? Approval?
To the kitchen to defrost ten peas. Back to her chair
to squeeze the peas out of their hulls for the baby
bird; her rescued one. She had been able to write quite
a story about this bird. The juices had flowed while she
was composing then they had dried up leaving her in a
drought of misgivings. What to do now? Play a game of
solitaire. Click on the icon, moved the mouse cursor
over the queen of hearts, click, move her over to the
king of clubs. At least that would take up the time
before the evening routine.
Later made no difference. She checked the time. Got
up, pushed off her gray walking shoes not bothering to
untie the laces, marched down the hallway to the
kitchen, opened the refrigerator, took out a bottle of
white wine, poured in half a glass, got her cheese
stick, stripped off the sealing wrapper, went back to
her room, into the chair, bit off a piece for the bird
began to ruminate. How to be happy, pleased with the
seventy-six years, "thatís the spirit," that had brought
her this far into living a good life, she thought that
it was a good, enviable life; but what now? She couldnít
help the smile, heard the quiet laughter. What a fool.
She was loved, respected, had done well, what in hell
did she want? She knew.
She wanted that high productivity, the high of her
manic stages in life, but not the painful lows. She had
to admit that some productive writing was done during
lows. Being in neutral was a bore. She scratched her
ear, elbow on the desk pad, hand beneath her chin,
fingers moving with a soft stroking pattern, began to
consider the absurdity of the situation. She shook her
head laughed to herself at herself. It was supposed to
Just make up a character, a plot and get on with it!
Thank God, this day was over.
The rain had passed on to the east. This morning was
full of bright light. So was she. No inspiration yet,
but no being in the depths of dark despair. Today it was
ok to be in the search for an idea. It was like her
dream from last night; restoration and recovery after an
earthquake; to cover up the destruction or clear out the
relics, profit from the healing process time creates.
She looked around her room. She had designed, built
all the furnishings: cabinets, desk, counters,
bookcases, shelves. Miles of books, videos, DVDs,
pictures, trophies, handcrafts, notebooks filled with
research projects, the bird cages, the miscellaneous
office items. White, clean, just to her liking.
Everything was to the good. Years ago, she had written a
story that started in this same room. Unfinished.
Perhaps she should get back to that manuscript.
Classical music coming from the Bose radio. Her sparrow
came to her shoulder for a snack. She had already
prepared the fireplace for the evening, done her chores
of bird feeding and dog cleanup. It was too muddy to
work in the garden. She did manage to plant a new plot
of scallions. No lunch today in preparation for an MRI
at 2:00; blood given at the lab early the morning.
Writing words but no creative direction. Come on
ideas. She closed her eyes, quieted, lifted her hands,
rubbed them together, settled her fingers back on the
keyboard, a-s-d-f-j-k-l-;, she waited for inspiration.
She was acquainted with the maxim that art was not all
inspiration but hard work. I am willing to work, the
question was on what. The plot? Who is the character,
with what intention, for that matter, what was her
intention? Keeping in mind, what would she do? Do
was the mantra taught in her class. DO, do, do? First, a
situation, then a character. Good grief, nothing. Give
it a rest. Go get the mail.
In the shower, rubbing her fingers through her soapy
hair; the idea came: what about a character who has a
bout with multiple medical contacts during a short
period? The character was clearly defined in her mind,
the events somewhat blurred. The creative would fill in
as she composed even if it was just for fun: She rushed
back to the keyboard typed: words flashed across the