January 29, 2010

- See all 763 of my articles

It was a dark and stormy night. This weather always made Casey think of Snoopy. How she envied that dog, with his vibrant imagination, always dreaming of aerial dogfights with The Red Baron or telling war stories with Bill Mauldin. When the bucket dropped down into the well of Snoopy’s creativity, it never came up dry.

The same could not be said for Casey. She looked down at the last two words she had typed – qwerty uiop. Hardly great fiction. She exhaled deeply, blowing tendrils of auburn hair away from her face. She abandoned the current story by closing the window. She opened a new window and began anew.

Twenty minutes later, she had managed just five sentences in the new story. The damned weather was distracting her. The flashes of lightning were constantly illuminating the sky, and the booms of thunder jolted her out of her seat every couple of minutes. It was completely impossible to concentrate. Casey needed a break. She decided to watch a bit of the idiot box before turning her attention back to her writing.

First, though, she needed something to quench her thirst. Casey crossed the room to the walk-in closet, pushed aside some dresses that she hadn’t worn in a decade, and removed a large, heavy box from the bottom shelf. Hidden behind the box – away from the prying eyes of friends who would be stunned by its presence – was a bottle of single malt scotch.

Casey grabbed one of the Styrofoam cups that sat next to the bottle. She poured a generous amount of scotch into the glass and chugged it quickly. She could immediately feel herself begin to relax. She replaced the box on the shelf.

Casey arranged a couple of pillows against the headboard of the bed and jumped up onto the pillow top mattress. She grabbed the remote and flipped the TV on. She was pleased to see that NCIS was on – and it was one that she hadn’t seen before.

Ducky was in the midst of explaining that the person had not died of natural causes, but was in fact the victim of a murder. This was not particularly surprising, since the show only focused on murders. Casey was interested in the real mystery – when were Dinozzo and Ziva going to get together? The suspense was killing her!

Finally, the NCIS team cracked the case and Gibbs got a confession from the bad guy. Casey noted that all good leisure must come to an end and got back to her writing.

Casey really needed to get her story done tonight. Her editor was a slave driver, and his deadlines were firm. If it wasn’t in his email inbox by midnight, it wouldn’t get into the next edition, and she wouldn’t get paid. Casey’s fridge was empty, her rent was due, and her bottle of scotch was dangerously low. She really needed a paycheck.

Since she hadn’t been productive in front of the computer, she decided to eschew her Macbook Air in favorite of pen and paper. She had a lot of flexibility – she could write anything, as long as it was fiction – but that was part of the problem. What sort of story should she write?

Casey grabbed her trusty Montblanc pen and a composition book. She decided to try her hand at a crime story. A half hour later, the story was dead. She had written just 250 words, and was completely uninterested in the plot.

Casey sighed, tore the page from the composition book, and wadded it up. She launched the paper ball across the room toward the waste basket. The long three point shot rimmed out – par for the course today.

She decided to switch directions one hundred eighty degrees and began work on a love story. Forty five minutes later, she realized that the main characters were only interested in each other as friends. Ugh.

Then the inspiration hit her. Of course – she would write a fictional account of a writer suffering from writer’s block.

Leave a Reply