The cursor blinks on a blank page. Several moments of struggling pass, and then a silence sets in that calls for the curtain to rise, for the performance to start. The keys click and clack as ten determined digits beat at them like drums. His muse takes him by the hands and together they dance on these fading letters. Sometimes they step on each other’s toes, but the beat does not stop.
Letters flash into being, birthing words and fathering sentences. A period does not mean the end of an idea, but the beginning of another. Thoughts flow, not like a cliché river, but like rippling waves that the eyes can hear. Slowly, words begin to fill the waning white. As each keystroke conquers more of the page, he stops writing and starts painting. Somehow the canvas becomes coloured though his palette holds only black and white. All goes well. But then he stops.
Sometimes a Pause comes to visit, the kind of guest he’d rather didn’t feel at home. He lets his hands come away from the keys and takes a sip of his coffee; the warmth quenches a voice thirsty to speak. Two fingers congregate at his temples, his usual prayer for an idea. He can feel the veins pulsing in sync with the still-blinking cursor.
The cursor does not stop blinking. Not until he starts writing. He forces his fingers to type, to chase his nemesis away with words, words that may well be weak but he is desperate to fill the page and push away that accursed cursor. He makes the mistake of looking back and finds himself unhappy with what he sees, and feels something akin to a father’s disappointment. Why didn’t it turn out better? Where did he go wrong? He goes back to try to save it. Why won’t it do as he wants?
It is frustrating work; work is what it becomes when the pleasure is scarce, a sad sentiment his muse shares. She loved the dance before, now her thoughts are elsewhere.
His fingers begin to lose their feeling. He writes and rewrites and re-rewrites these same sentences— a circular salsa, the steps take him two forward and two back. He stands still. He goes to sip his coffee, tilting the cup all the way back; only a single drop falls to his lips. He looks into the empty circle through a pair of his own.
I wrote this for a creative writing course, and tonight felt like a fitting time to post it.
I thought to capture the different motions of the ride as we bang away at our keyboards: the passion, the boundless confidence, the near-god arrogance, the growing uncertainty, the inevitable wall, the salvaging, the defeat, the distance and the coffee.