Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Self Portrait

Alone, the writer stares out the window. The ceiling fan hums overhead, stirring the first warm air of spring into a soothing caress. Images play across the television screen, colors bouncing, flowing, the sunset tones bleeding off into the distance. He pays little attention to the words coming from the cd player. Opera is hard enough to understand in English. He picks out snippets of the German, but focuses on the music behind it, music befitting the season, even if it is not yet Good Friday.

He scrambles around the corners of his mind, searching for ideas. They are there, little slips of paper, some of them long forgotten, some he told himself long ago that he would write, but never did. A few he crumples up and tosses towards the wastebasket. They miss. Baseball season is almost here. He should work on his aim, if only on principle.

With a pile of good ideas at hand he sits down and begins to sort them. One is too personal; it feels too much like violating a trust. Another, just as personal, would work if he turned it into a novel and really fleshed out the characters. Then they could come alive as someone other than their inspiration. Then the personal would work, for it would lie hidden behind a mask.

Novels aren't written in a night, though. And there is no plot yet, just a cast - a cast of sinners in need of redemption. That is the beauty of writing - if one works hard enough, one can redeem the world. Not so in this life.

"Mein Gott, mein Gott, warum hast du mich verlassen?"

Aber Sie varlassen mich nicht...

Bock - it means strength. Strength beer. Perhaps one could say it is beer for strength. All beer is for strength. "I drank sixteen bottles for the price of one, trying to find the courage to talk to the one..." Bock is certainly an early spring beer - rich, creamy, but hinting at the freshness to come. The smell of cigarettes on a cool rainy day, and the whisper of new leaves on a warm April afternoon - all these are tied up in the beer, if one tastes carefully enough. Or maybe it's the glass... real German glass, that - birthday present from a friend.

One friend has provided the poor writer with a wealth of ideas, but none of them are working right now. The love is not there, and without love one cannot create. These, too, are discarded for the time.

Something longer must come soon, something with action and suspense, something with wit and polish, something that cannot be written in a night. The others, though, they must not be forgotten, those little snapshots of joy, and sometimes of sorrow, but oh how to write them! Snapshots are a photographer's business.

He needs new inspiration, something like the story of Benedict and Scholastica, something to smack him in the face and say, "Write me!" It will come. Writer's block is not forever. The stories will come; they must.

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