He started to write. Stopped. Highlighted the entire paragraph. Pushed delete. Stared at the monitor. A blank word document hung there in the pixeled space of the screen.
He felt numb and lifeless. As if his thinking had ground to a halt. Nothing was coming. Or, more to the point, no words were flowing from his mind to his fingertips, onto the keyboard, to be finally captured by the word processing program of the computer.
He closed his eyes and tried to reawaken the images he longed to write about from his past. Disobediently, they sat there, in the back of his brain, unwilling to budge. A slow throb in his right temple became his only focus.
He touched the side of his head, wondering if he’d possibly done himself some damage. His past behaviors hadn’t always been the healthiest of pursuits. When he pressed his fingers against his skin, it felt cold and rubbery, and he questioned whether he was actually alive, or dead.
He sat up straight in his chair, and put his fingers to the keyboard. Hung there, poised for two seconds. Relaxed. Looked up. Noticed that the picture hanging on the wall behind the monitor was crooked. Resisting an urge to stand up and straighten it, he stayed seated, and instead reached over and grabbed a pen.
He didn’t know why he grabbed the pen. Feeling self-conscious, and in order to not look foolish, even though he was alone, he purposely put the pen down, dead center in front of the keyboard – his personal homage to those suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder.
He suddenly felt tired and decided he was hungry. He wanted something sweet, toast with jam perhaps, and maybe coffee. Yet it was getting late. The coffee worried him: it could possibly keep him awake. His left leg ached. His back felt stiff. The small clock on the upper right hand side of the computer screen displayed1:32 am and this made him even more aware of how tired he felt he had become.
He looked across the room towards the window. Realized he had closed the curtains earlier in the evening. Getting up, he walked over, pushed the curtain aside, and stared down at the cars parked along the street. Letting go of the curtain, he slowly exhaled, removed his reading glasses, and walked back to the desk.
He wanted to write. He wanted to be a writer. He wanted to be a published author. He wanted to make a living doing something he loved to do. The blank page on the computer screen told him different. It meant he was failing, unable to even write a couple of pages late at night. With his left hand he straightened the picture on the wall, and then sat down, placing his glasses on the desk. A sense of defeat permeated his thoughts.
He stared at the computer, then shut his eyes, and leaned back in his chair. A nagging sensation that he’d forgotten something overtook him. Memories of when he used to be an artist invaded his brain. Recalling when he used to paint, and draw, and sketch. The exhilaration he felt when he put pen to paper. Capturing the images he vividly saw in his imagination. There was a time he had to draw, had to create art, had to, or he’d lose his mind. Sitting there, with his eyes tightly closed, he wondered where that drive had gone. He hadn’t sketched, or drawn, or painted, or even wanted to, for many years.
He opened his eyes, picked up his glasses, cleaned them with the ends of his t-shirt, and put them on. Feeling cold, he considered turning up the heat. Instead he reached down for his long sleeve shirt that lay on the floor. He liked the way it fit, the material snug. The arms, almost too long, hung to his fingertips. Rolling them up, he thought about when he’d first started writing. He’d experienced that same sort of obsession to create, as before, when his need to draw was almost as essential as breathing. The act of expressing himself by piecing together words into sentences fulfilled his artistic desires.
He was suddenly struck with an idea and sat forward in his chair. He stared at the computer, hesitated, and then began to write about writing.