Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Inspiration/Block (for the writer) (05/20/10)
- TITLE: Neocortex Obstruction
By Lisha Hunnicutt
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"What seems to be the problem?"
"I've been trying to start this story all week. Every time I start to..." Gavin paused. "What am I doing? I think this is getting to me. Now, I'm not only hearing voices, but also responding to them." He sighed, thrusting his chin between clenched fists.
"It is getting to you. Look at this place! There's paper everywhere! I really ought to put you through a complete check-up."
"What?" Gavin jumped, spun his chair around, and found himself eye-to-eye with the strangest character he had ever seen. Tufts of wild gray hair sprouted from the sides of his otherwise bald head, and a mustache hung below his bulbous nose. He looked at Gavin above silver-rimmed spectacles with raised eyebrows. He sported a pair of tan slacks under a white overcoat, and he wore stethoscope around his neck.
"Who are you, and how did you get in my office?" stammered Gavin.
"I'm Doctor Write and you invited me in?" he replied.
"Invited you in? I didn’t invite you in!" challenged Gavin.
"You most certainly did. This came zipping through my window only moments ago," said the doctor. Gavin opened the crumpled paper and smoothed it out on the desktop. He recognized his handwriting, but didn’t remember writing the words.
"Let me read it," said the doctor, pointing a chubby finger across the page. "Help me please. I can't take much more of this. Signed, Gavin Atkins. You are Gavin Atkins are you not?"
"No buts. Now, I'll need you to answer a few questions for me. What are your symptoms?"
"Symptoms? Um, besides responding to unexplained voices and talking to strange little men, nothing's wrong."
"Tsk, tsk. Denial."
"Tell me, Gavin. When is the deadline on this piece?"
"In one week. I can't seem to get off the ground with this one."
"Yes, yes, I see," mumbled the doctor as he reached for his stethoscope. Thumping it against Gavin's chest he listened intently, muttering under his breath. He moved it to his back. "Take a deep breath for me Gavin."
Gavin obeyed. "Hmm," said the doctor jotting a few more notes on his pad. "Lack of passion and no umph."
He shined his opthalmoscope into Gavin's eyes. "No vision," he said as he jotted still more notes on his pad. He put the scope away and grabbed a patella hammer. "Sit up on the desktop please."
Gavin cleared the desk blotter and plopped himself down, legs hanging over the side. The doctor thumped the hammer against the front of Gavin's knee. His leg just hung there. "Oh my," said the doctor. He moved to the other leg thumping a bit harder this time, still Gavin's leg just hung there. "This is serious," said the doctor. "No drive." And he jotted down more notes.
"Gavin, you have a serious case of Neocortex Obstruction."
"Neo.. what?" asked Gavin.
"Neocortex Obstruction. In laymen's terms, it's called writer's block."
"Oh," said Gavin.
"I've written you a prescription," said the doctor. "First of all a change of scenery should cure your lack of vision. Talk a walk Gavin or go for a drive. See that laptop over there? Dust it off and hit the road. Look at the world around you and let it inspire you with newness."
"Ok, what else?" asked Gavin as he slid off the desktop back into his chair.
"Put that i-Pod to use. Think of your main character. What music would he listen to? Figure it out and download some of it. Listen to it while you're on your walk. It'll renew your sense of passion. And the exercise will do you good. Look at that pooch you're developing there! You've been stagnant way too long."
"I can do that," said Gavin. "Any other suggestions?"
"Yes, one more. Cast your fears on God Gavin. You're afraid of failing, and it's hampering your creativity. Turn this story and deadline over to him. He gave you this open door, allow him to help you walk through it."
He plopped his instruments into his pocket, and turned Gavin's chair toward the window. "God-speed Mr. Atkins."
A whistling wind swirled through the office clearing Gavin's desk of all paperwork. He sprang to his feet. "Wait!" he called, running through the open door and peering down the hall. It was empty.
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