Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Flash Fiction #59: Write what you know

Photo shamelessly stolen from Neil Gaiman
She sat in front of her keyboard waiting for divine inspiration; she supposed this would be more likely if she believed in the divine.

She rolled her eyes and typed a few words. Then she immediately deleted them. The screen remained blank.

“To be a writer, you have to write.” That’s what it said on the motivational poster on the wall. But the words that used to flow so easily, had been silent for months. Ever since… Well, no point thinking about what was. Now she had to write. Deadlines could be fatal.

She looked around the room. There had to be something here she could craft a story about. Hmmmm the paperclip? Nah, Microsoft had claimed that one as a help icon. Stickynotes? No – that too had already been done.

The cell phone buzzing was a welcome distraction. She’d sworn off the phone until the newest project was at least started, but it could be important. Seeing her best friend’s name on the screen let her know she shouldn't answer. But, maybe a break was what she needed? Maybe some time away from the white screen of emptiness would give her some ideas. Perhaps a coffee would create a flow of inspiration. Words would fill the page as they once had.

It was worth a try. She closed the laptop and escaped to the local coffee shop to meet her two closest friends. The girls gathered around their favourite table. One white hot chocolate, one espresso, and one chai tea. When they went for coffee it was accepted nobody would actually drink plain coffee. She said all the right things as the gossip flowed, held up her end of the conversation – freely blaming her friends for her complete lack of productivity; after all, that’s what friends are for. But when she smiled, it didn’t quite reach her eyes. She was quick to catch and interpret the brief look her friends gave each other. She knew they worried about her, but she couldn’t be strong for them. Not this time. She could barely be strong for herself. And so before the pause could become awkward, she pleaded too much work and tossed her cup in the garbage on her way out the door. She knew her friends watched her leave, but she never looked back.

When she got home the screen was still white, but this time, it wasn't intimidating. She knew it was time. The words would flow through her fingers once more. But where once they had come from laughter and dreams giving light tales of romance and fun, this one would come from tears and reality. She started to type.

“Six months ago, my life, as I knew it, ended. Tomorrow, it will start again. Today, I will complete the journey from death to life. You may join me, if you’re strong enough.”

She paused and considered for a moment. Her hands shook and a single tear crept, unnoticed, down her cheek. She knew, if she continued, that by the end she would be exhausted. She realized she would likely become a far better writer. And, she realized with a wry grin, she would be in need of a new market. As she contemplated the fallout to come and realized that maybe, just maybe, she was strong enough after all. And with that in mind, she let the words flow.


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