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Writer's Block This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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It was a Tuesday, the third of October, when my muse left me. Half­way through the third chapter of my deliciously satirical exposé, which I had so cleverly titled “The Ethical Politician,” it happened. My pen froze to the paper, a pool of ink spreading from its point. The sentence made no sense. Verbs, nouns, prepositional phrases – all words no longer relevant in my suddenly empty mind. My creativity had vanished.

High and low I searched for it. From the tip of my intellect to the depths of my emotional being I groped in the darkness, hoping to strike a creative vein. It was nowhere to be found. A stream of obscenities issued forth, searing the abruptly discontinued ­editorial. I stood alone in the barren wasteland of my once-creative mind.

I envisioned myself in the desert. The sun hung menacingly overhead, yet there was no heat. White sand stretched endlessly in every direction.
I looked up. The sun had become a strange shade of blue, casting a frail white pallor over my Saharan prison. There could be no hope in this place.

The desert vanished as my pen fell from my hand. Wait. That whole daydreaming bit, that’s creativity, right? I definitely just cre­ated something. A devastating realization cascaded down on me; the world seemed less bright. I had encountered the one thing all writers fear most – writer’s block.

I broke out in a cold sweat. All ­manner of creative stimuli had to be employed. I sipped coffee on the fire escape. I lost myself in the works of Louis Armstrong, snapping my fingers to the beat. I encountered the staggering enormity of it all as a flock of geese soared overhead. Truly uninspiring. I stared hopelessly at my brown metal desk. It was the sort of desk you’d expect to see in a police station, or a crematorium. Thin metal was sprayed with just enough paint to conceal its grayness. Cheap metal handles on the drawers, a plain wooden slab for the surface – the least stimulating piece of furniture I had ever seen.

Come to think of it, the study itself was pretty drab. The decidedly Victorian motif had been designed to channel my late nineteenth-century novelist. The mauve walls stood bare save for a threadbare tapestry. A stout, curtained window allowed the only natural light into the room. A green and brown afghan spread from the desk to the windowed wall. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have been proud. The antiquity, however, had lost its charm. I felt as if the brown desk and stagnant, outdated study were ­sapping my creative ­potential.

I could feel the hairs on my arms rise as the imagination being pulled from my body leaked from their ends in little wisps, drifting lazily to the ceiling and fading into nothingness. The problem was apparent: my study was a boring pit of creative doom. The solution was obvious: I had to renovate, and in doing so reclaim my muse from the clutches of writer’s block. Yes, then it would be all right, once my creativity returned.

Over the next few weeks, my study began to be transformed, starting with a series of framed paintings bearing the pastel likenesses of various fruits. (My favorite was the pomegranate: what a striking shade of violet!) The afghan was replaced by glossy wood floor. Malevolent creativity hummed and crackled at my fingertips as I tossed the tapestry into the garbage and heaved the afghan off the fire escape. I ambled smugly into the study, a brilliant cloud of visionary might swirling impatiently around my head, waiting to be unleashed on some hapless slip of parchment. That is, it was waiting until the room was perfect.

Perfection arrived the next day at precisely three o’clock post meridian. The day had consisted of wandering dazedly from store to store in hopes of finding a replacement for that brown abomination of a desk. Oh, how I loathed it. I had been everywhere, from the low-end stores with the haggard-looking salesmen to the upscale boutiques, heady perfume richly encompassing the overpriced collections. Ironically, perfection had been waiting for me in a local thrift shop.

As I shouldered open the heavy glass door I noticed a rickety table laden with bread and bagels; a makeshift sign labeled hastily in large magic marker read, FREE. It seemed this is where I would be doing the majority
of my grocery shopping should my creativity fail me indefinitely. I started ­uncomfortably through the store.

Rack upon rack of donated clothes stood between me and the furniture section, placed conveniently against the
far wall. I pushed through, holding my breath against the overpowering scent of cheap fabric softener. I emerged victoriously into an array of battered desks, lumpy couches, and sagging armchairs. Slowly I picked my way through. Too dull. Too small. Too big. Scratched. As I passed a tragically neglected piece of what must have once been a gorgeous baroque dining set, my foot caught a nearby table leg and I toppled onto the dusty floor.

I lay sprawled out, contemplating my complete failure. And then I saw it. The double doors leading to the back room swung open, and a short man pushing a cart emerged. On it stood the most glorious piece of furniture I had ever seen. It was a desk like no other, ovular in nature from the bird’s eye perspective, perfectly flush drawers blending seamlessly into its seduc­tively curvy frame. I could feel the ­creativity trying to force its way out, oozing through the stitches holding the leather pad to the writing surface. I suddenly knew that I had been put on this earth to own that desk and pen the greatest literary works of our time on its surface. I scrambled to my feet and rocketed toward the man with the cart, hurdling over scattered ottomans and credenzas as I went.

“Is this for sale?” I asked, gasping for breath.

“Uh, yeah,” he replied, puzzled.

“I’ll take it.”

After quite a bit of leveraging, the desk rested in the bed of my truck. I tossed a five spot in the little man’s ­direction. After all, he deserved it. A faint breeze rustled the leaves strewn about the parking lot, carrying the faint spectral voice of my muse from the bed of the pickup. I followed the breeze all the way home, speeding through red lights and deftly weaving through the cacophony of angry horns.

At long last I pulled into the parking lot of my apartment complex. After a horrendously long elevator ride – they always seem to dawdle at the most ­crucial times – I threw open the door
to my apartment and confronted that brown abomination seated betwixt me and my imprisoned creativity.

With tremendous malice and the darkest of ambition, I tore the drawers from it, heaving them from the fire escape in what I hoped was the general direction of the dumpster. However, even without the drawers it was too heavy. And so I enlisted the assistance of my neighbor, Chad.

“Are you all right?” he inquired, surveying my sweat-soaked T-shirt and malevolent grin.

“Oh, fine,” I answered, wringing my hands. “Got a minute? I need your help removing my old writing desk. Sapping my creativity, it is.”

“There,” I said, with a dramatic ­gesture, “is the abomination.”

We hurled it from the fire escape, and never had I been so satisfied. High-fives were in order.

“Could I borrow your muscle for just one more minute?” I asked.

There was something not quite right about Chad that day. An underlying distrust tainted his every word – to be investigated at another time perhaps. After yet another painstakingly long ­elevator ride we regarded the pickup.

“I see,” said Chad.

“Oh, come now,” I chided. “It’ll ­only take a minute.”

As it turns out, it took 30. The glorious oval masterpiece finally stood victoriously in the study, basking in the lavish caress of a sunbeam.

“Thank you, Chad,” I murmured, ­enraptured by the warm glow surrounding the desk.

He walked out, slamming the door.
I continued to stare. I slowly ran my fingertips over the leather surface; the torrential flow of creativity threatened to crush my being. Paper and pen were suddenly necessary for survival.

The next three days were a blur. I neither ate nor drank. I slept in fits.
I wrote 47 pages the first day, 68 the second, and an even 100 on the third.
I was a god behind that desk, my pen
a scepter commanding creative forces previously unknown. The once-casual ­inspiration had exploded ­into full-blown epiphany. I wrote 14 pages about the striking combination of wind and a forest reflected in the surface of a lake, and they were all brilliant. Food, drink, sleep – all trivial ­afterthoughts in the exquisite mind of an immortal like myself.

On the twelfth day sans human nourishment, it happened. Again. My pen froze, the ominous ink spreading from its bleeding tip. No way could this happen. The walls, the floor, the desk, it was all perfect. Never had there been such inspirational furnishings. I tried to return to work, but once again my muse had vanished.

The creativity that had oozed from the stitching atop the desk had congealed, stemming the flow of my immortal genius. My torrential output of poetic prose had been replaced with a white-hot flow of homicidal anger. I tore the fruit from the walls and hurled the frames to the floor.

I kicked and screamed until my throat burned and my legs gave out. I struck the glossy floor face first, glass from the frames digging into my cheek. I could feel blood, hot and thick, running down my neck, soaking my shirt. I was going to die. I giggled in the spreading pool of blood, contemplating the irony in the mortal death of a literary deity, a truly Achillean phenomenon. Slowly, the room faded into darkness.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




Join the Discussion

This article has 174 comments. Post your own now!

yael K. said...
Mar. 26, 2009 at 9:18 pm
ok truthfully i thought it was kind of strange, the narrator seemed almost pompous and the story went nowhere. alos, overuse of prose
 
Kaitlyn J. said...
Mar. 24, 2009 at 9:27 pm
It's amusing, whenever I have writer's block I just wish I could write a story about it - about how enraging it is. I think you've captured the frustration quite well. I can relate.
 
Annie said...
Mar. 22, 2009 at 7:27 am
Overload on the adjectives. It turns it sickly sweet.
 
Csj said...
Mar. 18, 2009 at 4:59 pm
Writer's block is nothing to die for.Yeah, you treat it as leper's disease, but I treat as an allergy or minor cold. Your brain may be begging for a Break. Juct read a book or watch a movie.
 
Mickey said...
Mar. 6, 2009 at 1:34 am
my fave part was the end, very nice
 
Laura S. said...
Mar. 4, 2009 at 10:11 pm
I liked it. I liked it a lot.
 
Valerie J. said...
Mar. 3, 2009 at 12:46 am
Wow, this was truly amazing, I could relate!
 
i<3you said...
Mar. 2, 2009 at 2:00 pm
I cannpt relate to the comments that you have been recieveing. I can't give you high-quality remarks! I grew jadaed in the very begigning of this story! But, on the flip side, I do enjoy your discription and word quality!
 
Drew Murray said...
Mar. 2, 2009 at 3:28 am
Probably one of the most brilliant stories I've read in a while. Exquisite.
 
TempestWriter said...
Feb. 26, 2009 at 4:12 pm
It was good but a little too wordy in parts for my particular taste. And that may just be your style but it has been my experience that too many paragraphs of description in one situation doesn't usually work. At the beginning I was intrigued by the great word choice and the depth to your writing. But there were a few awkward parts between paragraphs. Also the part with Chad was kinda confusing. I wasn't quite sure what the point of it was. But anyways you definetly have major potential.
 
Zero_Kun said...
Feb. 8, 2009 at 11:13 pm
I have to agree with everyone, this is very remniscent of Poe, kind of pastiche, really. Yet you bring your own flavor to it as well. I definitely want to see more, this was amazing. (Though quite disturbing at the end I must say)
 
Wiskat09 said...
Feb. 7, 2009 at 9:20 pm
OMG> thankyou so much for writing this.. it is amzing.. i am myself in a wriing block. it happens to me all the time, and i agree with the stament homicidal rage. the really terrible thing is i know hwre i want to get, i just lose the words to get there. stuck between a and b so to speak.. Your writing is wonderful. your description outstanding. and your story relatable to all writers..
thank you for posting and keep pushing the pen to the paper.

Katie.

Ps. i am ... (more »)
 
wtf? said...
Jan. 30, 2009 at 1:53 am
It's okay. Keep it up.
 
WonderfullyWicked said...
Jan. 22, 2009 at 10:50 pm
Oh my. This was very...indescribably...GOOD. It's well written, well described...

Some of my concerns--not big ones, mostly minor ones: I found myself wanting to skip the paragraphs right before the first dialogue of the piece. Getting excited, I wanted to skip right down to the action. Needless to say, those paragraphs leading up to the dialogue were good.

When your protagonist is talking to Chad: “Oh, fine,” I answered, wringing my hands. “Got a ... (more »)
 
wtfxomgSARAH said...
Jan. 15, 2009 at 2:40 am
Bravo! That was awesome! I seriously loved it. I envy you right now, lol. I can't right nearly as well as you do. You're like Stephenie Meyer and Daniel Brown mixed, dude! :D You should toootally write more, and more, and more. Great job!
 
Jazzy said...
Jan. 14, 2009 at 3:59 am
This is definitely the best thing I've come across on this site. You already possess the talent of writing I strive for, and I applaud you for that. Keep writing! (And I hope what happens in the story doesn't happen to you!)
 
Milly said...
Jan. 12, 2009 at 8:26 pm
Ok, this is so amazing. If I could write like you... Heck, if anyone could write like you, the world would be a better place. It was stunning in how deep it was, how profound. I'm shocked that a someone so young can write something so beautiful. I hope to see more!
 
MyWrittenProposal said...
Dec. 31, 2008 at 4:28 am
By far, this is quite possibly the single most amazing piece of work I have seen on this site thus far. You most certainly have a way with words, which definitely helps keep things interesting in most all cases, but even had you not had that beautiful way with words that you clearly do seem to have, I believe this would even still have been a most interesting, exciting work. The amazing part is how you've managed to turn a story in which the hero is facing terrible writer's block -- something ... (more »)
 
Carrie said...
Dec. 24, 2008 at 2:58 pm
Wow. Scary. I absolutly LOVED it! I'm a tad shaken. Bravo.
 
chelsya_2008 said...
Dec. 21, 2008 at 3:01 am
This is a lot better than some of the short fiction stories on here. You really have a way with words. It's stunning.
 
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