Whip out something short

Whip out something short

It’s late already, five-thirty. I am sitting at my computer keyboard but not typing. I pick up my cup of coffee and take two small sips because it’s still quite hot. I put it down. I’m supposed to write some short story today. I woke up pretty late this morning and have been bustling around ever since. I had some more coffee. I read the newspaper, a Miles Davis CD contributed background bebop riffs. I dipped into a couple of books: an Einstein biography that I borrowed a couple weeks ago from the local library and started reading because it suddenly occurred to me to do so; a novel by Michel Houellebecq that I recently came across in a secondhand bookstore—I’m a systematic reader. I usually read two, three books a week. I flipped on the radio and listened half of something dump. I didn’t feel up to leaving the apartment—it was muggy and putrid out, even for Melbourne in the summer. The heat out there this summer made me fear for my sanity. The heat was still raising and I felt I would melt into a puddle in front of my keyboard. Cicadas racketing in the heat. I was aware of a low-level but continuous feeling of anxiety connected with the fact that I hadn’t started writing yet and didn’t have an idea. My mind flitted about. I thought about a Neo Rauch painting that I’d seen recently in an art magazine. I considered whether I should order some chow for dinner again from a newish Indian restaurant around the corner that I liked. Perhaps some delicious Masala Dosa. (I won’t go out. I don’t often go out these days.) On a trip to the bathroom I noticed that my beard needed trimming. I talked on the phone to a photographer friend who was sick. By six o’clock, though, there was no avoiding the fact that I had only an hour or so left before the working day would be over, so I put another CD in the stereo and sat down at my desk. I see that there’s a tiny spot on the ceiling that I’ve never noticed before. A little while ago I enrolled in a writers course. The instructor claimed it’s only going to take one forty minutes or an hour to whip out something short once one gets going. But getting going, that’s the hard part. My mind is still blank. I haven’t even the germ of an idea but I have to force myself to write something or I’ll never get anything done. I stare at the computer monitor and am reminded for the millionth time that one of the worst things about being a writer is that you’re confronted by an empty screen, a nothing-at-all, practically every time you sit down to type.

Whip out something short

sourmis

Richmond, Austria

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