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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Inspiration/Block (for the writer) (05/20/10)

TITLE: A place between
By Graham Starling


The in between times have always possessed great significance. Between death and life, night and day, sleeping and waking.

There is a moment at the beginning of each day. Wisps of dream still linger, wrapping the world in gossamer threads of unreality, and time, real time, is suspended. Ten minutes here will become two when I next open my eyes. If Iím careful, I can add hours to my day in the thirty minutes before the busy world calls me to join its mad rush.

It is here in a cool tranquil oasis in my mind that my Muses sing to me. Often itís gibberish; a disjointed stream of words and phrases that hold no music or meaning, but on occasions the patterns interweave and make sense.

I reach for my notebook, plugged in and waiting on standby beside the bedÖ and pause. In half a minute I could have my fingers dancing an elaborate jig across the keys, but Iíve been fooled by this monster before.

Like a great electronic leach it would suck the delicate blossoming flower of new thought, along with all other thoughts, from my brain and leave me staring at the screen, my mind as blank as the empty page looking back at me. The cursor would blink its silent reproach and wait patiently for me to surrender to the inevitable.

There would be emails to check; blogs, twitters and RSS feeds to catch up on; and if all else failed, minesweeper and spider solitaire stand quietly in some virtual back alley, waiting for this desperate junky to seek out yet another fix of mindless unproductive pointing and clicking.

No! Computers have their uses. Iíll be transcribing and reviewing and correcting on the machine before the morning is much older, but for now the brash, discordant digital chatter it would bring into the world would scare my Muses and break up the delicate pattern of their song. No, the computer can stay silent a while longer.

I reach for my other notebook, one with real pages in it, and a pen. A good one: Comfortable to hold and reliable. The music wonít wait for me to hunt out a new one; I have to be ready.

Before long, my chicken scratch fills one page, then another. I feel the words as they come to me, a rushing torrent dancing and weaving, winding and intertwining; a symphony where the point and counterpoint reside in the shape of the words and the nuance of their meaningÖ

I will reread this later. In the full light of day with harsh reality shining its unforgiving glare, the music will fail, the words lose their cohesion. This flower is too delicate to survive untended in our brutal environment. Perhaps Iíll throw it away, its delicate beauty shrivelled and brown. Perhaps Iíll change a word here, a phrase there; prune it before putting it on display. Perhaps itíll be ok.

But it will never again sound as beautiful as that first time in the quiet place between sleep andÖ now.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 05/29/10
I loved your description here, "Wisps of dream still linger, wrapping the world in gossamer threads of unreality, and time..." This is perfect for the topic "inspiration."
AnneRene' Capp 05/30/10
That "in between" place is so original...nice! You gave me a good chuckle with the mindless solitaire. You had some nice fluid descriptions as well.