Sunday, April 7, 2013

An Exercise In Writing

A twenty-something girl sits cross-legged on a couch that she's decorated with too many pillows. The excessive accessories look great in photographs she posts on Instagram, but are completely impractical when she eventually puts her iPhone away and wants to sit down. So, she throws almost all of them on the floor and assumes her evening position in front of a TV that's likely beaming out images of a show she'll claim she's too intellectual to get into. Her laptop is perched on the edge of a coffee table cluttered with magazines she still hasn't read, but will thumb through from time to time for outfit inspiration. She feels guilty knowing she's a "writer" (she's not confident enough to call herself a writer without using air quotes) and yet she doesn't actively read the writing of others.

Maybe that's her problem. She's already ignoring rule one of every writing workshop ever: you need to be a reader to be a writer.

She stops the train her mind is on before it reaches that place where she tears up over things like her Feature Writing professor saying as long as she's writing, she'll make something out of herself. But then again, she tears up at pretty much anything (including but not excluded to manly men crying or sad looking animals.)

See, right now, she's not writing. She can't write. It's like the universe is preventing her fingers from pressing the keys to form the words that she can kind of hazily see in her mind. And the universe has been a total bitch to her lately, so she feels okay using it as a scapegoat for her creative mind block. Just last week she tried to “get out there” and “do different things” which for her was doing something really normal and not at all crazy like going to a new bar with co-workers. And what happened? The universe was like, “Calm down crazy. Here’s a splitting headache that will make you go home at eight.”

And so is how her life usually goes.

She takes a sip (gulp, really, but sip sounds so much more delicate and lady like) of wine before grabbing her laptop with determination.

She will write something--anything--tonight.

But first she should probably find the appropriate album to write to. She mutes the TV (but will leave it on, for really no reason at all) and places her laptop back on the coffee table, probably too close to that Bath and Body Works candle she leaves burning for hours.

She goes to her record collection and starts flipping through the albums. She feels like the image of her sitting in front of her record player is very “indie movie” and wishes someone was there to photograph it, then filter it through Instagram and tag her in it on Facebook. It would make a really artsy profile pic and some cute, quirky guy who looks like Justin Timberlake when he hosts SNL (you know, when he wears eyeglasses) would be into it.

Finally, she decides that Carly Simon’s “Boys In The Trees” is the ticket to unleashing her creative genius. So she places the needle on the groove and once again, reaches for her laptop.

She stares at the blinking cursor for a little bit before deciding she should work on a project she’s already started. Her novel. Or short story, as it stands now since it’s about seven pages long.

She opens it up and realizes it hasn’t been formatted for her Mac. That’s how long it’s been since she’s accessed it. She heaves a dramatic sigh as if she’s some kind of elderly man at a bar recalling his younger days with wisdom and regret, and tries to figure out how to open the document.

Nothing makes sense.

She just starts double-clicking things until some kind of hieroglyphic text opens in front her. Among the “National Treasure” looking inscriptions, bits and pieces of the original text is there but it’s completely out of order.

It’s too much work. And besides, that novel/short story was awful anyways.

She goes back to the blank page and blinking cursor.

She has nothing. Absolutely nothing. She looks around the room and sees her pillows thrown on the floor.

As an exercise, she starts writing about a “writer” who excessively accessorizes her couch

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