Thick, fat flakes of snow tumble from the sky and pile up in mounds below. The tops of the tall, bare trees sway only slightly; dancing in the light breeze. The below freezing temperatures aren’t nearly the point of bitter that they’d been last month. Still, it’s cold, and she is glad to be inside with a kitten curled up against her feet for extra warmth.
Beside her, a fresh cup of coffee. Tim Horton’s brew at home, brewed to perfection, and doctored with a little sugar and a splash of half & half; just the way she likes it. She takes a sip as she boots up her computer.
She watches the birds hop among the branches of those same bare trees. She can’t hear them. It’s too cold outside to open up the windows and let the outside in. She imagines their tittering little voices, chattering back and forth as they take flight only to settle back down amongst the same branches.
She looks a little closer. Perhaps those branches aren’t so bare. She notices the smallest of buds. They’re only just beginning to emerge. A sure sign that spring looms just around the corner. She feels alight with possibility.
She opens up her word document. She’s ready to conquer another chapter or five or twenty. Whatever the day may bring. She’s excited. She feels ready. She lays her fingers on the keyboard.
Blink. Blink. Blink.
The cursor is the only thing on the page.
Blink. Blink. Blink.
Fingers rest on the home keys.
Blink. Blink. Blink.
She drinks more coffee. She stares at the screen. She curses that flashing cursor.
All those ideas fluttering through her head, alighting her with possibility, begin to flicker. The flickering becomes blinking. The blinking fades out to nothingness.
Writer’s block has reared its ugly head, again.
She will not succumb to its insistence. She will not let it win.
“Not today!” she shouts as she takes up pen in hand.
She pushes her laptop off her lap and replaces it with a notebook. Time to go old school, she decides. One last glance outside reveals to her that the snow has ceased, the branches have grown still, and only a few birds remain.
She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. She envisions her story, recalls the words she last typed. As the scene unfolds on the screen of her mind, she opens her eyes and touches her pen to paper.
The words flow as easily as the ink. The scene wraps up and her pen ventures to the next. There is no time to stop, to think, to reconsider her words. They flow quickly, now. Filling page after page.
Her wrist is cramping up. The sun is setting, and the light in her once bright room has dimmed considerably. She squints at the page but continues writing. She is oblivious to the world around her. She is lost somewhere inside her story. Inside the world of her characters.
She has become them, become the narrator of their lives. They are inside of her. They tell her their stories, and she lets them flow right through her and onto the paper. Her hand is no longer her own. She watches the screen in her mind.
The room grows too dark to see. She fumbles for the lamp switch and blinks rapidly when the room is bathed in bright light. She picks up her cup of coffee and sips it absently.
She sets down her notebook and pen. She carries her cup to the kitchen for a refill. She wonders if she remembered to eat all day. She stirs in her cream and sugar. She feels good. She’s spent the whole day writing.
She returns to her seat, coffee cup in hand. As she sips the fresh cup, she flips back the pages in her notebook and reads over her day’s work.
The first pages are great. That scene unfolded perfectly, just as she’d imagined.
“What’s this?” she wonders aloud.
Gibberish. It’s all gibberish. She searches for words among the mess of letters. She finds a the, an apple, and a goribba — which she assumes may be gorilla, though she doesn’t recall a gorilla in her story. She feels like she’s trying to read a word search.
She throws back her head and laughs. She’d spent her entire day writing nonsense words.
This is the life of the writer. Some days, what you write is utter garbage. Write anyway. Even if it’s destined for the trash bin.