Keep The Juices Flowing by Begin Again
My haven, the place where my mind and pen flourish, is a cluttered 9x12 guest bedroom. Stacks of rejection letters fill the waste bin. Scores of unfinished scribblings clutter the floor. The framed piece de resistance, my first acceptance, hangs proudly above my desk, confirming I can write. Determination, excitement, wild dreams of becoming a successful author, and of course, my over-blown ego bounce exuberantly off the walls. Ink flows through my veins.
For two weeks, I have worked non-stop, eating at my desk, falling asleep in the chair, determined to finish the rewrites in record time. My breaks consist of a shower, a change of clothes most days, and an occasional ten minutes of stretching exercises. Completing the task at hand consumes me.
The continuous rhythm of muffled music from another room is a reassuring backdrop, reminding me the love of my life is nearby. Through the years, she has picked up the pieces after each rejection letter, carefully gluing them together again with her love, allowing me to start again. She is my safe harbor from every storm.
Time stops for no one, especially a writer with a deadline. Yesterday miraculously flowed into today without my conscious knowledge, and now it is night. Digital numbers glow from the tiny clock on the shelf - 9:00.
'With her trembling back pressed against the wall, Carrie
slowly inches her way down the dark hallway toward the
muffled whimpering. The taste of blood, her own, blends
with the pungent fear inside her mouth as she bites her lip.
In the pitch black, her fingers wrap around the cold door knob.
A chill races through her body. Gruesome thoughts plunder
through her mind, pleading for her own sanity to return, urging
her to escape. Seconds tick by as she stands immobile
outside the room. She listens but the whimpering has stopped.
She slowly turns the knob, gingerly cracking the door. A dim
light filters through the opening. A foul smell hangs in the air.
The room is empty except for a disheveled bed. Stepping into
the space, the hairs on the back of her neck bristle. Too late,
she hears the door close and latch.'
Goosebumps speckle my arms at the unexpected knock at the door. The sudden chill is quickly replaced by frigid anger.
"Can't you see I'm busy?" The tension from the story flows over into my voice as I stare disdainfully into the eyes of my wife.
"Sorry, but I haven't spoken with you since yesterday."
"I'm working." I turn back to my desk, expecting her to fade away, to do what ever she does while I bleed over my writing.
Shock reverberates through my brain when she speaks again, this time much closer to me.
"Let's do something." She runs her fingers up and down my arm.
My cheeks puff with exasperation. Sighing, I expel the air. Our eyes meet, but I purposely miss the glistening in her pleading eyes. I only see the unwelcome interruption. "I can't. You know I have a deadline to meet." A niggling of shame worms its way in and I quickly turn away, reminding myself what is important.
"You live for your work. What about me?" Her words sting.
Caught off guard, my snappish retort cuts deep into her heart. "What about you? This book is the answer to our dreams."
"Our dreams? I think you forgot about our dreams." Spinning on her heels, she storms out of the room, closing the door behind her. Moments later, the back door slams.
Quiet settles into my haven. I sit reading and re-reading the lines I'd written prior to her interruption. I write, wad the paper in a ball, toss it aside, and try to write again. The fluid train of thought is gone.
I turn the radio on, hoping the sound of music will ease my mind, let the creative juices flow. Nothing ... absolutely nothing, except for those nagging thoughts of guilt.
Frustrated, I turn off the light and walk through the empty house. At the back door, I can see her silhouette sitting on the steps. A tsunami of emotions course through me.
Walking outside, I lower my lanky frame down beside her. Neither of us says a word. We sit side by side beneath the moonlight, staring at the stars.
She sniffles and wipes her nose. Knowing I caused her pain, I slip my arm around her, pulling her closer to me.
"I thought you were going out." Not exactly what I meant to say, but my man ego still gets in the way.
"Changed my mind." She sniffles once more. "I thought you had a deadline to meet?"
"Yeah, but the juices dried up." I admit more to myself than her.
Simultaneously, we both speak, "I'm sorry."
I kiss her nose, and then tentatively brush her lips with mine. She welcomes me with her own. My soul drinks in her love and once again I feel complete.
"Do you want to go somewhere?" I respectfully ask.
"No, I'm happy right here. Do you want to write?"
"No, I'm happy right here, too." I kiss her again, remembering that she is the source of my inspiration. "I can be a writer tomorrow."
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