I had been mulling over it for months. Five, six. I didn’t tell anyone. It was not something you could tell someone and still hope not to be evaluated. But I was consumed by the question like mint in ester. I wondered about it on my way to work every night. In the mornings, I couldn’t sleep because I wanted the answer right then, that very day, every day, for months. I was thinking about it when I dragged myself into the airport, for a new city now, and my parents waved me prolonged goodbyes from outside the glass wall. I was thinking about it also when I walked for the first time into my new place of work, the newly acquired free office stationery making things easier for a while. I was thinking about it when I knocked at the real estate agent’s door and a woman with manly sideburns, the receptionist as a matter of fact, welcomed me in. When I first visited home two and a half months later, there was a lovely little camera waiting for me. I was thinking about it as I stared into its lenses while it stared at others: why don’t I write more often? Why don’t I write?
When recently I met an old friend I was making mental notes of his adultnesses*. I liked him for them. I liked him by and large but I was on the lookout for giveaways at all moments all the same: those exaggerated truths, that baby lie, that question he’d ask me acting as if he didn’t know the answer.
The last I'd seen of him before this was when we were both nine: we weren’t as clever then, not by a long shot, but we weren’t as stupid either. I wasn’t. As a kid, I wasn’t writing a short story in my head when I should have been up with real, in-the-present-moment frolic.
(*except his round inchoate male breasts that came as not sucha pleasant surprise; I remembered him as a marathon runner in the making.)
Long story short: I was writing a short story when I met a long lost friend. But when I actually sat down to write, I couldn’t put pen to paper. Not only that. Whenever I would really get down to the business of writing – at this point you can imagine me in front of a blank word document on the screen, my fingers hanging just above the keyboard in paralysis, my eyes intent on the pixels laughing in my face – I suddenly wouldn’t want to.
While I tried to sleep today an answer the texture of an arrow seeped into my aching eyes. It was discomforting, and unlike what I had imagined, the coming of it didn’t make sleeping any easier. I like framing sentences, it told me, and I like adding one sentence to another. I like thinking up the odd witty remark, I like capturing the shy detail, I like imagining things in my head, I like hypotheses. It said I love how strings of words are jot together to resemble baritone musical notes, it said also that I like writing words and sentences and paragraphs that among themselves form mathematical patterns.
What it also told me, sadly, is that I have nothing to say to the world.
I have no desire to tell anyone what I think about what. Not directly, not through stories.
I didn’t want to believe all this, but it also told me, as if shoving evidence between my breaths, to go see people’s status messages on facebook. Not what’s in them, but just the fact that they were written. That these people, among them people who can’t put together a coherent phrase on being offered salvation as reward, that these people often had something to say to everyone. They wanted their voices to be heard, their thoughts to be known. While I didn’t, I really didn’t.
I know it’s not a happy or even an intelligent story, but what the heck, it is the story for today. I can't let the writer's block last forever just like that.
PS. Dear Curious Minds, mint in ester doesn't lead to anything or mean anything.
Except possibly that shallow frills excite smart minds.