Thursday, December 2, 2010

THE WRITER'S DILEMMA (#fridayflash)

The writer had nothing... Nada.

He lit a cigarette, sat down, scratched the back of his head and sought the inspiration that eluded him now for weeks. It was due. While he knew there were endless millions of possibilities, nothing came. Perhaps he was too tired. Or just plain lazy.

He thought of the brilliant people, the ones that made it look easy. Then he thought of those lucky ones who, while not brilliant, managed to string together enough words to entertain the masses.

He read a comic book and after dawdling on YouTube, felt even more useless.

He tried typing the first thing that came to him:

T-h-i-s- s-u-c-k-s a b-i-g v-e-i-n-y ...

The writer stopped because he was being foolish and knew if he didn't, he'd just keep typing nonsense like a savant. And then giggle like a moron to himself.

He decided to look to history for inspiration:

On this day in 1804 some little midget became emperor of France and interestingly, on the same day in 1961, some Cuban dude declared himself a Marxist-Leninist and led his country to Communism virtually overnight. There's a dual kind of story in there somewhere, right? Sure. But maybe someone smarter can write it, he thought.

What about a mystery? He figured those were easy enough. On this day in 1980, four American churchwomen were raped, murdered and buried in El Salvador. Scandalous. Turned out that five national guardsmen were later convicted of murder. Theplot thickens. That kind of book would sell millions and make him the next airport fiction rock star. Ah, but he knew deep down plot wasn't his strong suit.

What about that schmaltzy triumph of the spirit schlock? Works for guys like Mitch Albom, right? On this day in 1982, quacks at the University of Utah Medical Center performed the first implant of a permanent artificial heart in a human. The fella with the fake ticker even lived for 112 days. He heard the record scratch off in his brain. How could it be a 'triumph of the spirit' if the patient croaked? Back to the drawing board.
The writer soon had a breakthrough and figured he was overlooking the obvious -- violence, sex and drugs. A perfect trifecta of inspiration. He saw that on this day in 1993, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was finally killed by security forces in Medellin. Hmmmm. The source material was already there. That was the good part. But then his writer's brain got the best of him. If the damn idea was so good, there would've already been a movie or novel about it.

That's it. He was out. The tap was dry and the TV went on.

By the time he was finished kicking some twelve year-old's ass in "Splinter Cell" on Xbox Live, the writer was truly certain that whoever said "The ultimate inspiration was the deadline" never had a fucking novel to deliver.


  1. A tasty little write again, Anthony. And with some added little facts and a bit of history. Excellent work, my friend!!

  2. *snerk* The thing is, it's laugh or cry. I know exactly how he feels and still I can't help but snicker. Poor guy. Poor us! :)

  3. Like Jen says. Laughing and crying. Do you ever feel like you only had five ideas and now they're used up?
    Related all too well to this fine story, my friend.

  4. Writer's block sucks ... i'm sure something will come to our writer when he least expects it! In the meantime, he could read "news of a kidnapping" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez about Pablo Escobar. ;-)

  5. Good one! It's certainly easy to relate to. Sometimes those deadlines certainly don't spark creativity.

  6. Ah, poor fella. Yes, very relatable. I feel his pain. But something will strike him eventually. Great story as always, Ant.

  7. Oh you. Very funny. And true. And well, interesting.

  8. Um, yeah, I can relate. Very on point. Fun read, sir. As always. Peace...

  9. Thank goodness I don't have deadlines..or I would be in big trouble.. I can't plan what to write..
    this is a nice little write-up though about not being able to write..:-)

  10. The Huntington Museum's got a big Bukowski show on.

    Youtube also has some Buk. phunn-- like one semi-classic of Buk. inebriated, insulting and then nearly assaulting some broad on his couch.

  11. Brilliant, as ever ... and oh so real ...

  12. Your wrote an awesome story about a writer who had nothing to write about. Pretty smart and fun to read. And I would have to agree with you - deadlines don't always light the wick.


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