By Jon Moray
I toweled off from a tropical mist-like shower and opened the door to the bedroom. My laptop laid open on the night table and to my surprise the word processor was open with a blank sheet illuminating the burgundy draped drawn room. I didn’t open the program. I was on the internet checking football scores from games played the night before. I want to make sure that fact is perfectly clear before I continue.
I ducked back inside the bathroom and brushed my teeth, wondering about the phantom program opener. I gargled mouthwash, checked myself in the mirror, succumbing to the realization my hair is only going to get more gray and returned to the bedroom to dress.
I spied at the laptop and this time words appeared on the page.
Why aren’t you writing? it read, as I attempted to shake off any craziness that might’ve crept into my curly quaffed head. I peered at the screen, then called out to my wife, only to recall she had gone shopping with the kids. I dressed in the same t-shirt and plaid shorts I wore the day before and was now faced with a mental battle that was, in my estimation, way too early in the day to fight.
Well, why aren’t you writing? You have a nice quiet house to yourself. Don‘t let a little writer’s block stop you. You have broken through that mental wall many times before. Take me to your nice plush easy chair in your superhero themed man cave, put on some smooth jazz, do some deep breathing exercises, and then start typing.
The letters appeared on the screen, keyboard untouched, as my mouth formed a shape of a capital “O.“ I know I’m not going crazy. I mean, work has been a smorgasbord of stressful meetings and strict deadlines, but I think I have handled it quite well.
I stomped out of the bedroom without a plan to combat or reason with the sentences that formed on my laptop. I made my way to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator door, more out of habit than of having an appetite. The vanilla pudding looked appealing but then again, I had a cup the night before and reasoned that tasty treat might’ve been the source of my hallucinations. A cool shiver enveloped me as I was now afraid to reenter my own bedroom.
I picked up the phone to try and contact one of my buddies, but quickly reconsidered for fear he might think I‘ve gone loony. I was left with the sobering realization I would have to face this paranormal prankster alone. I slowly crept towards the bedroom, uneasily anticipating more words on the screen. I peeked around the door jamb and my fear was realized. More words. Curiosity got the best of me, so I hurried over.
C’mon, pick me up. You know you want to. You have to. I’m your escape from reality, your sanity rehabilitating pastime. Do you remember your inspiration for writing?
My heart beat like a bass drum on steroids, as beads of sweat materialized from my forehead. To say I was a little nervous is like saying the devil is a little evil. I drew a deep breath in an attempt to regain composure and focused on the challenge before me.
Mentally revisiting my whole reason for writing was a comfort to me. I was watching a Twilight Zone marathon and was thoroughly entertained by the quality of the stories. I longed to enjoy tales like those, some with a twist, some with a moral message. I had great admiration for Rod Serling and some of the regular writers on the show. I was told I wrote well at work and I have had several story ideas in my head that needed to be documented. I started writing, editing, and re-writing. It is said, the hardest part is getting started. For me, it’s finishing a story re-written numerous times. I wrote thirteen stories that first year. The feeling of finishing a story based on an idea I created was gratifying. I would lull myself to sleep thinking of new story ideas.
I slowly reached for my portable computer.
That’s right. You can do it. There’s nothing to be afraid of. Remember your first acceptance letter?
I remember. The first word after “Dear Jon” was “Congratulations.” I read the e-mail several times for confirmation. After ten form rejections, one of my stories was accepted. It made my week. It sure was a welcoming surprise from a “Thank you, but” after the greeting. Rejections are disappointing but are never a deterrent. I was doing something in my spare time I enjoyed, regardless of acceptance.
I picked up my laptop, expecting some kind of out-of-body experience but felt nothing but cold electronics. I slowly carried it to my man cave as instructed by the creepy collector of words.
I slumped down into my chair and pulled the recliner lever as if it were a slot machine. It might as well have been, I felt as if I was gambling with my sanity. I reclined back at a sixty degree angle and settled in. I began to rekindle the memories of typing within the “escape from reality” aura, creating characters and worlds that I would love to meet and visit.
Good. That wasn’t so hard, was it? Trust me, this works for both of us. Now, take a deep breath and start typing.
“What should I write about?” I asked aloud, cussing myself inside for acknowledging this word weirdo.
Excuse me, your mouth was moving. I don’t have hearing. If you were asking me a question, you need to type it on the keyboard. That’s how we communicate.”
What should I write about? I typed, emphasizing each letter with more force than a keyboard should endure.
Why don’t you write about the experience you and I just had?
I started typing, thankful I broke through another writer’s block wall.