Lately I’ve really been struggling to write. It’s difficult because even when the flesh is willing—and, let’s face it, I’m always up for sitting down—the spirit is weak. I know some writers claim to have found ways to overcome writer’s block and, well, good for them. I’m not sure I really believe it’s true. After all it’s in the nature of writers, especially fiction writers, to invent.
Speaking of overcoming writer’s block I once heard Neil Gaiman tell a story of how he was at a convention, hanging around with some other writers early one morning trying to shake off their hangovers, and his old friend Terry Prachett came bounding into the room.
“What are you looking so happy about?” Gaiman muttered.
“I’ve just written two thousand words for the day,” said Pratchett and, according to Gaiman, all the other writers glared at him.
It’s a funny story and it reminds me that even for those lucky enough to write for a living it’s not easy. In fact it can be really hard work, and even for Pratchett it wasn’t always easy. His essay “Thought Progress” starts:
Get up, have breakfast, switch on word processor, stare at screen.
Stare at screen some more.
Anyway now I feel guilty because I’m not really writing, just stealing stuff from other writers. Once in a writing class I was given an assignment to write about a place and I ended up describing the room where I tried to write the essay while writing about how hard it was to come up with something to write. The professor wrote, “There’s nothing more boring than writing about writing. Don’t do it.”
And now I feel even worse because not only am I writing about writing but also padding this out with someone else’s quote.
What I really want to get to, though, is this bit of stuff I saw in a grocery store parking lot. There’s a pair of folded jeans, a case of what looks like phone stuff, a red glass bowl with chains, and a…thing. That looks like the bowl might go with it.
How did they end up there? Who left them? Why? And why, while I was in the store, did someone take the thing and the bowl and leave the phone stuff case and the jeans?
There’s a story there. I just can’t quite get it down. Can you? Bonus points if you can identify the thing.