Thursday, 29 September 2011

On Writers' Block

(Or a Modern Day Sisyphus)
Mark Lee Pearson

Once there was a writer, who carried a block upon his shoulders wherever he went. It was a very heavy block, filled with atoms to the highest density, and finished off with sharp corners and rough edges. If he had ever dropped the block on his foot, which by sheer luck he never did, he would probably have crushed his toes.  

One day the man was carrying his block through the park when a young woman approached him. She said, "My dear fellow, you look as if you carry the weight of the universe upon your shoulders."

The man replied, "What I have upon my shoulders is a magnificent block of which I am extraordinarily proud."

On seeing there was in fact nothing resting upon the man's shoulders, the woman decided to humor him. "Why not put it down and take the weight off your shoulders for a while?"

"I am afraid cannot do that," said the man. 

"Why ever not?" the woman responded.

"It is very precious to me. If I put it down the Muse might steal it from me."

The woman offered to carry the block for the man. Thinking she was pretty and therefore certainly trustworthy, he thanked her and handed her the block.

She easily took upon her shoulders, thinking it wasn't as heavy as the man made it seem.

Relieved of his weight the man was overcome with another affliction. His hands twitched, his eyes whirled, and he started to chatter to himself incoherently.

"I've got this great idea for a character, you know. There was this boy wizard, who... Or should I start with the world building? No, no, no plot comes first. I'd better get the outline down now..."

The woman looked on in horror for a few moments until she could stand no more. "Here," she said, passing him back the invisible block. "I think you were better off carrying this."

The man loaded the invisible block back onto his shoulders and walked off into the sunset. Of course, he lived happily ever after in the knowledge that it was the weight of the block and not his own laziness that prevented him from ever finishing a single tale.

The End

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