The Creative Process
He sat with his journals in front of him, trying to find the opening line, trying to find the elusive words that would somehow catapult him into story. But nothing manifested itself. It seemed the pages laughed at him. What’s the matter? they would say, in their smug and complacent voices, Cat got your tongue? It went on for days. Then weeks. Every day a new sequence of letters, words, none that moved him, none that made him smile or frown or anything. The hell with it, he finally thought and snapped the journal shut. It’s just not time yet, he thought glumly. I suppose, he told himself, that one could use the brewing of beer as a metaphor, the fermenting process that needs to take place before the product is ready. (He also supposed that it might be too apt a metaphor, but shushed himself.) He went out for coffee. He had the street mostly to himself: Other people worked.
That evening found him screaming. He hadn’t meant to, but now it was necessary, had in fact gone beyond necessary, to simply primal. They were not screams of pain. They were screams of frustration, and powerlessness. Screams of despair. They were the screams of a man watching his brother drown. His retarded brother, true, but his brother nonetheless. But it was useless, like trying to stop an approaching tidal wave by pissing at it. What the fuck were they thinking? Playing 4-5-1 against Luxembourg? Playing Luxembourg with only a sole striker? The referee’s whistle sounded and the game was over. The room was hushed and funereal. Another round? said someone. Hell, yeah! muttered another. It was two beers before the hush left the room. After a few more, it was more like a wake.
After he went to bed, he tossed and turned. At long last, he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep, carried on wings of sighs. He woke with a start, something he thought only happened in movies. He’d been awakened by a familiar voice, his bleary eyes making out a face in the dark. Happy, and not yet rid of the dream logic that told him the impossible was not only possible but highly probable, he reached out for her, waking himself up completely in the process. The remnants of the dream went the same way as his whispered I’ve missed you; into night and silence. Falling asleep the second time was even harder.
The Passing of Time
One morning, he peeked outside. There was ice on the ground. Ice! It was only mid-October. But the sun set early and the nights were longer than days and had been for weeks already. Where had time gone? Wasn’t he supposed to move somewhere? No, he had moved already. And returned. Time had passed. A whole year. Jesus, he thought, as the magnitude of it hit him. (Too dramatic, wasn’t it, to think of mortality over something as simple as frozen water and some dead leaves, but then again, wasn’t that just like him? And hell, it was the season for it. Who was he to deny his cultural heritage?) Jesus, he thought again. Fucking ice.