To Be Eaten
I was sitting in my office, typing nonsense into my keyboard and hoping a good story might happen by accident. After all, I knew everyone was waiting for me to make my next move, and I know what sort of tale they expect to find from beneath my finger tips. So my mind started wandering, looking in the darkest corners I could find and, trying so hard to meet the challenge, I laid on the floor, with my feet way up in the air because I heard once that this sort of bodily contortion would sometimes help inspire the great writers of our age when they were stuck. But I was just lying on the floor with my legs up in the air, still no ideas. So I just started daydreaming.
I am in an ocean, floating along on a boat that I’m not paddling. Just sort of wafting around on the waves, without any sort of agenda made up in advance about where I’m supposed to end up. No blank pages in front of me, and no maps and nothing but empty spaces of land lining up along the opposite shorelines slowly moving past me. I am calm, with a knot in my stomach. The same way it feels when you wake up from a dream where some impending dread is creeping up and, even as you become aware of the fact that it was just a dream, you still feel anxious.
So I’m getting up off the floor, in this “heightened state of conceptualization”. Although rocking my boat would truly require me to pen some words and string them together with at least the appearance of coherence, what I do instead is make some more coffee because it seems, that when you’re supposed to be doing something else and when you’ve got a deadline you’re trying to impose, it seems sometimes the best thing to do is get out of that room and make some dark coffee. I also like to put on some music so that I can feel as if I’m relaxed and that I’m intellectually engaged with something that should inspire a tidbit of creative ebb and flow; even though I know the truth is that I just want to feel like there’s someone else around while I’m essentially alone. No words yet that might help me out.
So I’m sitting in my big chair, right beside my window and, as I’ve already implied, waiting for inspiration to hit me. I think I always expect it to come in those lightning-bolt flashes. The rain of words will tumble out, I’ll be abscessing onto the page, like spilling blood and puss from a wound. The words will seem to find themselves, and they will spread my mind out like a map except my following them becomes instinctual instead of laborious, and what materializes is like a cast of character actors who have already memorized a script and are ready to act it out as well as edit it in perfect timely fashion. It’s all happening at light-speed and I forget my surroundings and I forget that I had nothing to write about just a few minutes before and before I know it, there’s page after page after page. But here I still sit, looking out the window, waiting for inspiration to strike.
It is a glorious day, the sun is out and the trees are swaying in the slight breeze of an April Saturday afternoon. I’m staring at a dog on the asphalt that is inexplicably running around in circles, with no human to be found. The dog is large, and pretty, with a full & fluffy golden shag. It looks like she is having fun, but I don’t really know what dogs would equate with fun, and maybe every time they aren’t just sitting around in a wicker basket would be considered fun to a dog, or maybe a dog’s life has no real use for fun in the way we typically understand it, because dogs really don’t have a work ethic imposed on them, meaning there is really no separation between what is fun and what is obligatory in the sense of the pleasure principle that humans follow. Sure, dogs can certainly be discomforted, and maybe inconvenienced, but trying to ascribe an idea of what is fun and not fun for dogs is an immaculate (and maybe slightly interesting) dead-end. And I still have nothing to write about.
So I’m lying again on the floor, only this time I’m face down, with my arms at my sides. I picture myself as a living, breathing, human hot-dog. Not like those awkward foamy suits the poor sad kid at the side of the road might wear, no I literally picture myself being placed between the warm bread of a fresh hot dog bun, mentally arriving at a state of mind where I can actually sort of feel that ketchup and mustard and smell those chopped onions and the final squirt of mayonnaise as the bun is handled and squished and I’m next on route to an open mouth and I’m having a bite taken out of me, but I think it’s ok because food does not fully self-actualize until it is eaten. I am not much of a hot dog if I can’t be eaten, and so I accept my fate willingly and happily. I open my eyes and I see the clock and realize I’ve sort of only wasted 10 minutes and still no words that mean anything are materializing.
I’ll try again tomorrow.