The computer cursor and I are rounding out hour two of our staring contest. I’m sweating. He won’t budge. It’s a stalemate. I’m definitely in an alternate dimension, a vast black hole of writer’s Hell. The drought has arrived. The well is dry — a well that once produced a steady stream of ideas. By well, I mean my creativity. By dry, I mean empty. Hollow. Gone. I fear I’m finished. I am without an original thought in my head, and, as a writer, this petrifies me. My thoughts — my creativity — are the tools of my trade. Like a surgeon can’t be without his scalpel, I feel completely naked without my creative juices. I must find some way to get them flowing once again. There has to be an easy way to implore those muses. Let me walk you through a writing day in “Melissa, Life of a Columnist.” It’s better than any soapy soap opera, although I wouldn’t mind having a hunky co-star at my side.
But I digress. The scene: Several days before my deadline. Why have I decided to start this at night, when my eyes are drunk with sleep and the computer keys are blurring together? The clock on the wall ticks off the seconds as I stare at a blank computer screen. I can feel my blood pressure rise and beads of sweat form on my forehead as the blinking cursor makes me more and more angry. That blank Microsoft document stretches on for miles in an endless stream of white nothingness; now it’s clear why I’ve always hated that color. I gently tap my foot on the floor, hoping somehow this will bring me the divine inspiration I’ve been waiting for. But, to no avail. Thirty minutes pass and that evil cursor is still staring me straight in the eye. Blink. Blink. Blink. It’s evil. I’m beginning to think it’s out to get me, but I try to remain calm. Am I being paranoid? People tell me I’m a paranoid person, but I don’t believe them. I like to think of myself as a cautious person. Sensitive? Yes. But paranoid? Definitely not. OK, think hard, I tell myself. I’ve got to focus if I want to get this column finished in this century. Heck, at this rate, I’ll even relax my rigid standards and shoot for this millennium.
“Hey, Melissa, come watch ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’” my sister yells.
“Great! I’ll be right there,” I say.
As I settle in, something mysteriously happens. My eyes glaze over, and I am unable to speak. In fact, a numbness washes over my entire body. I’m incapable of uttering one syllable, except for the occasional squeals of laughter that escape my lips. This show has never been funny to me until now! The show comes to an end. Because of my television-induced sleepiness, it’s all I can do to muster the strength to pick up the heavy remote.
“Mother, can you turn the TV off for me?” I yell. My mother’s been trying to send an e-mail attachment for the last two hours. “I’m busy,” she replies. I guess I’ll have to take matters into my own hands. My finger poised on the remote’s power button, I had every intention of turning the TV off. But something went wrong. The remote must have malfunctioned because I hear the sweet tune that is the theme song to FOX’s hit The O.C. resonating throughout the living room. Well, there’s no time for deep thinking right now. I’ve never missed an episode of this riveting soap, and I don’t intend to start now. Call it my one guilty pleasure, but I can’t get enough of this show. I love it because it shows me a world I will probably never experience: The high-class, wealthy, many times shallow, world of Orange County, California. Who wouldn’t like to watch rich kids sneak off to Mexico or attend an ultra-hip private school? If only I were rich and…
Hey, there’s an idea. Maybe I could write about what it would be like to be wealthy. After all, I do love money, and I love spending money even more. I often dream of rolling in a big, slushy pile of crisp green bills, laughing maniacally. After the show, I head into the kitchen for a late-night snack. This is becoming a regular occurrence for me. I rip open a bag of Jay’s barbecue potato chips and reach into the cabinet for a bowl. No snack is complete without a tall, bubbly glass of Pepsi. After all, I’m young. Therefore, I should “think young” and drink Pepsi. All these advertising slogans give me another idea. Well, I’ll ponder it more fully after I indulge in my, um, little snack. I sit back down in front of the computer, no further along than when I left an hour earlier. The cursor is still blinking. Did it get bigger while I was gone? Maybe if I get myself in the correct typing position, I’ll have better luck. I sit up straight, placing my hands on the keyboard.
Music — that’s what I need. Nothing gets me motivated like some great tunes. I browse through my collection of CDs. I have to make my selection carefully. Should I listen to Clay Aiken? No, he’s so mesmerizing; he’ll just distract me. Britney Spears? No, because if I listen to Britney, I have to sing along. After much thought, I settle on Sting’s Fields of Gold. Thinking about the west wind, barley and the setting sun, not to mention Sting’s voice…ahhh. What was I doing again? I sit back in my comfy chair and wait for the muses to arrive. Maybe I can’t get this column done because I’m not motivated and I’m constantly procrastinating. Could that be the cause of all my problems? As I begin coloring in a random Little Mermaid coloring book, it hits me: No, that can’t be it. That’s ridiculous.
[Photos via We Heart It]