Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Writer's Life (05/13/10)
TITLE: Life Interrupted
By Marlene Bonney
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“I’m not married—haven’t had time to enter the dating scene.”
“You lucky stiff! You’re giving the rest of us whipped dogs a bad case of envy. Now, Nica, just kidding,” nursing the freshly-kicked shin, “you still doing the writing thing, Steve? Can’t wait to read your next book! When you gonna join the rest of the world and get a REAL job?”
Steve thought, “The guy runs on like revved car engine; either he’s gotten worse over the years, or my ears are shell-shocked.”
Scott Lambry joined them, “Aw, stop giving the guy a hard time. He probably pulls in six figures a year, but who’s counting? His traveling all over the world must really be exhausting, huh?” dripping with sarcasm.
Fast and furious, the thoughts scrambled through Steven Pelham’s mind like a laboratory mouse scampering in and out of a maze. He sifted through the ideas, a prospector panning for gold until the main theme for his next novel floated to the top.
Finally! He had been suffering through a bad spell of writer’s block, a common enough malady for an author, but a dreaded one, nonetheless. He quickly scribbled the plot line down on one of his handy index cards and sat down at his computer to research the geographical terrain of his main character’s town . . .
Four hours later, the young writer cracked his knuckles and neck, stretching to relieve his cramped muscles, a signal for a much-needed break. After a squished warmed-over TV dinner and a bag of chips, and wanting to take advantage of the striking while his creativity was hot, he returned to his writing. Another four hours passed by as he plotted, developed characters, and otherwise compiled and outlined his sporadic thoughts into organized interpretations for his future reading audience.
Finally, emotionally drained, the author retired for the night. Sleep was illusive, though, his mind pumped with literary adrenalin refusing to cooperate with his need for sleep. He willed himself to shut out the words and thoughts contributing to this sensory overload (another common writer’s dilemma) until he drifted gently into slumber like freshly-driven snow skimming across a snow bank.
Awakened, but still not awake, Steve remembered the reunion conversation, wisps still hanging onto the edges of his consciousness like a mountain climber’s delicate balance between earth and sky. He floated above a myriad of disconnected—yet connected—written letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, pages, and chapters dancing around the bed where his body lay, with the faces of all his writings trailing at the end like a be-ribboned kite tail.
Had he done enough? Did his life move others to greatness, to a closer relationship with his God? Would the heritage he left behind at the end only be his materialistic success, all that people like his former classmates saw? What about the unfinished manuscripts, essays, and articles boxed under the bed? Works that would not bring financial gain, but could have been submitted for the humbler publications with which he had begun. Had he failed after all? He remembered far away admonishments and encouragements from his parents, who had assured him he had a God-given talent to share with the world. Were they proud of his accomplishments? Was God? Suddenly, yet ever so gently, the atmosphere cleared below him and he slowly passed back down into his body, lightly snoring on the bed.
Steven awoke abruptly, wondering what had startled him. All seemed to be as it should, the sun just rising out of the eastern sky in all its glory, beaming through the window. There! There it was again! A light rustling sound from under the bed! He cautiously got out of bed, dropping to his knees and peering under the bed frame. A breeze so faint he could not tell from whence it came, was ruffling pages of forgotten prose and poetry he had written long ago, reminding him of the earlier inspirations and callings he had received. In what seemed to be a sacred urging, he pulled everything he had ever written out from under the bed. The warmth from the morning sun enveloped him like a well-worn, comfortable sweater and his spirit was restless no more.
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