Have you ever wondered what it was like to be a writer? This fun little tale of Jeff and his writing woes will give you a glimpse into the madness of the profession. As Susan Sontag once said, “You must be obsessed.”
ALIVE — very, very alive was he at that moment. But, would you say he’d gone crazy? Perhaps.
Jeff was a man of subtle ways. He didn’t stand out in a crowd. Anyone looking at him from the street would think he was no different than any other, older man. But, Jeff knew that wasn’t true. Sure, he’s gray around the edges, bald at the crown of his head, and even a little pudgy in the stomach — just like the best of them.
But, was that the point? No. Those things are on the outside. Easy to fix. It’s what’s on the inside that Jeff battled. A quiet and still soul; foolishness reserved for moments of solitude. He shied away from gawking eyes and scrutinizing opinions that came with sharing intimate, vulnerable moments. He stayed where it was safe, predictable, and comfortable.
The last time he opened himself to that kind of exposure was in high school, his senior year. The year he’d fallen in love with a French exchange student named Monette. Unlike other girls, she was confident in her body, at ease with her mind, and poised to take what life offered, from any direction. And, oh, that accent! The way her lips moved into a puckering position, like she was ready to kiss him at any second. He could watch her talk all day.
Monette, with her long, dark hair, and mesmerizing eyes; she ignited a passion inside him to create. Every night he called her at 9PM, to catch up on what he missed during the few hours they’d been apart. After they said goodnight, Jeff would sit and daydream while looking out the window from his desk, and then write what was in his head.
Jeff had an affinity towards literature, theatre, and writing. He imagined crowds going wild over his talent. However, he didn’t like others knowing he had that dream. He kept his aspirations hidden from his friends, and even his parents. He knew they would think he was soft; not a real man. But, his love for Monette went deep. Deeper than any emotion he’d ever experienced.
For his final senior English writing assignment, he decided to write about their relationship; their first kiss. His first real kiss; the kind of kiss that melted his heart; the kind that sent goose pimples up and down his arms. The kind of kiss that told him he was in love.
When his teacher, Miss Davies, returned his paper, his face flushed as he stared at the C+ emblazoned across the top, with red marks crisscrossing the page, noticeable with every other sentence. At the bottom, she left him a handwritten message, It’s too predictable. Not detailed enough. But, the worst part was when she suggested, Jeff, be bold; make the characters jump off the page. He rolled up his paper, tucked it inside his backpack, and hid it from the world.
The dagger dug deep into his chest, and his heart ached. That’s exactly what he thought he was doing — being bold. He’d never written anything so personal, at least not for someone else to read. And, he certainly didn’t share anything like it, with anyone, for a long time.
Instead, he spent his life where emotion was absent, unnecessary, and even counterproductive. Jeff spent his days behind a desk, crunching numbers and running reports. He left the office every day at the same time.
To the outside world, his life was ideal. An accounting career gave Jeff and his wife the luxury of never worrying about money. They lived in the right neighborhood, drove the right car, and wore the right clothes. Every summer they went on an exotic excursion, to somewhere like the Maldives, and returned a golden shade of envy. Every winter they headed south, to their second home in Florida, and soaked in a large bath of Vitamin D.
But, Jeff never felt alive in his work. It was only a means to an end. Now he wondered if it was the end. Was it too late for him to find life in writing? Did he waste his mind on numbers? Should’ve he spent those years on words?
When he retired a few months ago, his wife told him he had too much time on his hands, made too many messes in the kitchen. He needed something to occupy his days. She suggested he take up golf, a pastime he could spend with friends.
Jeff wanted more. A chance to see if he could live his wildest dream; if he could call himself a writer. In a brash moment, he signed up for a writer’s retreat. His expectations were high, and he was prepared for a transformation. In the end, he learned it takes more than passion to alter someone’s story.
“Good evening, sir!”
With pep in his talk, and a smile on his face, he said, “Good evening, indeed!” He set down both suitcases, and offered a handshake to the young lady behind the desk. “I’m Jeff Wright, here for the retreat!”
“Oh, yes! Mr. Wright, welcome to The Inn; we have everything ready for you. Please, keep in mind your room is still undergoing some renovations. We apologize for the inconvenience and want to offer you a $100 gift card to the latest Michelin starred restaurant, Café Des Amis. Make yourself comfortable and let the front desk know if you need anything.”
She handed him a large turn-key with a tag dangling from the crown-shaped end and pointed him in the direction of the stairs. He started the four-flight ascension with aspirations of nestling himself inside the converted attic. Half-way up, he stopped, almost out of breath. He grabbed at his chest and thought to himself, I really should start exercising.
When he finally reached his room, he unlocked the door, took a step inside, and dodged the wooden beam of the slanted ceiling. For the first time in his life, he was thankful he wasn’t a giant. Further inside, he was greeted with a basket of snacks, several bottles of water, a new leather-bound notebook, and a refillable, Parker ballpoint pen. The enclosed note listed the events of the weekend, the scheduled time for meals, and a wish for ‘A Weekend of Success’.
After he unpacked his first suitcase, he reached for the second, which looked more like a giant briefcase, and set it on top of the crisp, white duvet. He carefully pulled out an iconic Hermes 3000. No other typewriter as coveted in the history of typewriters. And, it was all his! He caressed its side and whispered, “I will make you proud, little Hermes.”
He set the spearmint-colored machine on the mahogany desk, situated in the middle of the room. He sat in the wooden, swivel chair, ran his arms across the desk in admiration and pushed off with great strength — rolling across the room and sending himself into a circling frenzy. With his eyes closed, and his head tilted back, he cried, “YES!”
He stopped the chair with his feet and glided back to the opening in the desk. Inhaling the atmosphere of his home for the next 48 hours, he noticed a distinct odor, one of staleness, that reminded him of his grandmother’s house when he was younger. His grandmother was eccentric, always working on a groundbreaking project. She had piles of research books, blank papers, sharpened pencils, and unused erasers in every room of her house. A mad woman with many ideas, but zero follow through.
Jeff took a deep breath of the damp, sour air. He looked around the room — nothing but empty walls and protruding nails. He saw bare, wooden floors and imagined where a rug should be placed. A hand-weaved Turkish or Persian rug — in reds and creams — belongs under that four-poster bed.
Pulling back the beige linen drapes, he found the windows blacked out. There was no TV in the armoire, no radio on the bedside table. Rubbing his chin, he said, “Hmm…no distractions!”
The first event of the weekend was a meet and greet in the backyard garden. Jeff freshened up, threw on a navy blue cashmere sweater, made his way down the staircase and out the back door. Cocktail tables were placed across the veranda, overlooking the budding white lilacs and yellow forsythia — the first signs of spring. Lanterns were placed around the venue and hundreds of lights were strung overhead.
Off to the left, there was a banquet table, two servers, and an unlimited supply of wine, cheese, and crackers. Jeff made his way to the table, asked for a glass of Merlot, and overflowed his tiny plate with gouda and cheddar. He looked up at the server with a half-smile and said, “I eat when I get nervous.”
He made his way over to a small group of authors. The men dressed causally, with wrinkled Oxford shirts, disheveled hairstyles, and inhaled cigarettes like they were life support. The women gave off a no-nonsense vibe, with sleek waves in their bobbed haircuts, creased black slacks, sensible blouses, and loafers. He stared at them, trying to get their attention. They carried on, talking about their latest book deals, amazing new story ideas, and friends in higher circles. Jeff was invisible.
He nodded and smiled when they looked in his direction, but not having much to offer, he stood there, awkward and unimposing, munching from his plate. After two glasses of wine, he relaxed enough, ready to join the conversation. Just as he opened his mouth to discuss the latest book he’d been reading, the hostess rang a bell in the air and he heard the words, “Dinner.Is.Served!” The crowd nodded in unison, took a final bite of cheese, and scurried towards the door.
Side-by-side, the corralled guests pushed themselves through the French doors, fighting their way to the dining room. Jeff stayed back, finished his wine, and watched with amusement. It reminded him of a National Geographic episode, Call of the Wild. He kept his distance and allowed the rest of the group to overtake the space; he simply watched heads vanish as they searched each round table, found their name, and dropped into their seat.
Jeff smelled the aroma coming from the kitchen and licked his lips in anticipation. He sat at his assigned place setting and smiled at the others at his table. He grabbed his napkin, placed it in his lap, and looked to the front of the room.
The table next to the podium had a familiar face — Miss Davies — his old high school English teacher. What is she doing here? Even though it had been almost 50 years since he last sat in her classroom, the sight of her caused a dose of anxiety to transpire inside him like a patient who just went off their meds.
The other guests chatted and laughed with one another, but he was entranced in his own thoughts. He was not paying attention to anyone, except Miss Davies. He watched her every move, for any sign she recognized him. If she could even see him. She must’ve been 80 years old!
The electric energy of the space was lost on Jeff. The dramatic mix of large and small candles lit around the room made him nervous; flickering on the cusp of combustion. A trio of violinists played in the front hall, soothing the other guests; the sound irritate him and his head throbbed. When one of them made their way into the room, everyone else swayed to the music, engulfed in the possibilities of the weekend. Jeff sat idly by, pouting, wishing he could leave.
Miss Davies stood, walked towards the front of the room, and commanded silence with her presence. Jeff reverted to his teenage self, a student in her class. His body temperature rose and covered his skin in a wet, sticky mess.
“Good evening, everyone! My name is Bettina Davies. It is such an honor to be your mentor and guest author…”
Jeff tried to regain composure and take in his surroundings. To settle his emotions. He wanted to enjoy the weekend. As hard as it was in that moment. He surprised himself when he said, “Why her? Why now?” He thought the words were locked deep inside his psyche, but they came out in a slightly high-pitched, waspish voice. The other three guests at his table glared in his direction.
Miss Davies continued her speech, unaware of the petulant remark. Jeff felt ridiculous. He was a grown man, and letting something so far in the past bother him was childish. He willed his mind to go back to the moment of excitement he had when he arrived. He allowed his thoughts to wander further back, to a few weeks prior, when his wife presented him with Hermes, and encouraged his decision to write.
“…So, why are you here? What brings you to this event?…”
Jeff pondered the question. He knew why he was there, he wanted to see if he could call himself a writer. Really, he thought the better question was, Why am I still here? Should I leave and schedule another retreat another time?
“…Many of us write because we must…Use your time wisely, bring the idea to life…”
And, that’s all it took to keep him in his seat. He knew he was not getting any younger, and he didn’t want to waste any more time. It didn’t matter seeing the old woman froze him in indecision, like a psychiatric patient standing in front of the Check-In window, debating whether to fill out the paperwork or turn and leave through the carousel door he came. He had to check-in, whatever the cost.
When Miss Davies finished her remarks, everyone ate in silence and savored the grilled salmon, roasted asparagus, and wild mushroom risotto feast on their plate. Jeff ate his dinner so fast he missed the medley of flavors. He didn’t even realize he’d eaten anything until a lump of food lodged itself in his esophagus. The only thing on his mind was to escape the tension inside his body. He needed to withdraw, away from his warden.
Back in his room, Jeff regained a morsel of hope for the weekend. He reviewed his notes, read though several of his unfinished works, and scattered a lot of papers around the room. The clutter made him nervous, so he paced the room, thinking of a solution.
He noticed a large frame tucked behind the armoire. He moved closer and pulled out a bulletin board, with several fliers pushed into it. “Well, what do we have here? This must belong in the hallway. Waste not, want not. No harm in me using it for a bit. All these events are outdated anyway.”
He posted a handwritten draft of his favorite work on the board, stood back to take a look, and decided it’s all wrong. “No, no, no! That looks horrible. Just a bunch of sloppy words. Let’s try again, shall we?” Jeff laughed as he realized he was talking to himself. “Better be careful, Jeff. You don’t want to end up in a real looney bin!”
After a few attempts, he created a collage from the bundle of inspirational quotes, and pack of photos, he stashed in the typewriter case. Once he finished, he mounted it on the nail above the dresser and gave himself a pat on the back.
Jeff decided to work on the piece he wrote in high school; the story inspired by his love for Monette. He pulled it from the manila folder it had been hiding in for forty years. The last time he looked at it was the night before his wedding. It amazed him that he still felt the spark each time he kissed her. “And they say high school romances never last!”
With a mature eye, and taste for fine literature in his old age, he saw where to expand and make the story more interesting. Overall, he didn’t agree with the C+, and thought Miss Davies was a little harsh on him. This time, he was determined to show her a better draft, and leave with a story worthy enough for his wife to read. To string together a series of words that showed his love on a deeper level. Monette deserved more than the simple telling, I love you.
Tck, tck, tck. The only sound in the room for hours, besides an occasional, “Yes,” or “Oh, this is good.” The words flew from his fingertips and he typed the first twenty pages with no more than a refill of his water glass. As he reached the juicy part of the story, he stopped. His hands joined together, and formed a triangle with his fingers. He rested the tip near his chin and said, “How risqué do I go?” Unsure, thinking it’s time for a break, he checked his watch. “Holy Moly! It’s three o’clock in the morning! Breakfast is at seven, I better get some sleep.”
Cuddled under the duvet, he tried to rest. But, he couldn’t. His eyes kept opening and staring at the ceiling. His story was on replay in his mind. He wanted more than anything to get out of bed and read what was written so far. A smile plastered itself across his face, and he imagined the beautiful prose and captive storyline of his romantic tale.
Interrupting the phantasmic moment, he felt a shake in his body, a burning in his nose. He released a loud cry, “Ahh-Ahh-Ahh-Choo!” He rested his head against the cool pillow, relaxed his muscles and once again attempted sleep. Minutes later, Jeff made another loud burst. “Achoo!” It was so fierce he bonked his head on the headboard. He sat up, rubbed his bald spot, and wondered if he’d be able to get any rest.
He sneezed for several minutes, with little to no break between each of them. Each time his body convulsed, the bed shook, and the longest pieces of his hair swept across the front of his face, brushed against his eyebrows, and tickled the tiniest part of his nose.
“This is absurd.”
When he couldn’t handle it anymore, he crawled from under the sheets, flipped the switch of the lamp next to him, and checked the tag of the pillow. “100% Goose Feathers. Of course!”
Determined to salvage any amount of night he could, he picked up the phone and dialed reception. The lady at the front desk apologized. The housekeeper had left for the evening and she had no idea where the feather-free pillows were stored.
Jeff slammed the phone on the receiver and swore under his breath. He covered the pillow with a towel from the bathroom and took the box of tissues from the back of the toilet seat. As he nodded off to sleep, his eyes began to swell and his throat felt tight.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Jeff woke to a loud banging against the wall. He shook his head and realized someone was knocking on the door. Through a stuffy nose, and sore throat, his raspy voice asked, “Who is it?”
A female voice answered, “Housekeeping. Sir, I have your pillow.”
He cleared his throat and replied, “What time is it?”
“Just leave it outside the door, I’ll get it in a minute.”
The creaking steps let him know she was gone. He slid out of bed, pushed his feet inside his suede slippers, and walked to the bathroom to splash water on his face. In the mirror, his nose was bright red, and raw, like tender meat that’d been put through a grinder. With a groan, he grabbed the mouthwash and gargled an extra long time to numb the pain.
Jeff followed the smell of coffee and toast to a small table in the corner of the downstairs breakfast room. He enjoyed the location; next to the window, with a nice view of the garden. For some reason, it didn’t feel as magical that morning.
The waitress, with her long, black curls, dark eyes, and perfect smile, approached his table, “Good morning, sir! How did you sleep last night?” She poured him a cup of coffee and left the pot on the table.
He tried to give her a smile, thinking she was a little too chipper for his liking. He rubbed the temples next to his forehead and replied, “Good morning. I slept well, thank you. Short, but well.”
“Yeah? Well, it looks like you need the Writer’s Breakfast.”
“The Writer’s Breakfast?”
“Yep! Fresh avocado and egg on whole grain toast; a small bowl of plain Greek yogurt, topped with ripe blueberries and our chef’s special muesli; and, of course, a bucket of black coffee.”
“Oh! I see. The all-powerful superfoods!”
“Why not? I could use a little healthy intervention.”
“Great! It’ll be right out.” She pointed to the pot and added, “Now, start draining your bucket.”
Jeff gave her a genuine smile. She returned the gesture and headed towards the kitchen. He sat back in his chair and looked around the room — the others appeared well-rested, put together, and happy. Some of them alert enough to read the newspaper.
“Damn professionals,” he growled.
Back in his room, Jeff looked at his watch and noticed it was almost 9AM. The messy desk breathed an air of haphazardness, and he wondered if he was ready to get back to work. Even though the caffeine had kicked in, and the allergy medicine gave him some relief, he still felt hesitant.
After breakfast, he had his mentor meeting with Miss Davies. It went well, relatively. He was able to hold in his emotions, as much as he wanted to unleash on her. He sat quietly listening to her advice as she reviewed his opening paragraph. She didn’t recognize him, his name, or the story. As relieved as he was, Jeff didn’t feel comfortable showing his story to this woman — the same woman that crushed him in the past.
He looked at the wreckage around the room and decided to send his wife a text. “Hey, honey! Having a great time. Hermes is my lucky charm; already wrote half the story! Better get to work, only 12 hours before bedtime! See you tomorrow!”
He looked at his watch again and realized it’d only been five minutes. He took a shower, made the bed, and checked the schedule from the basket of goodies. He stared at the schedule for several minutes, half in disbelief and half to kill more time. The only thing listed was the afternoon buffet, which opened at Noon and closed at 8PM. “Perfect. No stress. No constraints. I’ve got all day to write.” Jeff sighed, intertwined his fingers, and cracked his knuckles. “I can do this. Just need to warm-up first.”
He took off his watch and set it next to the typewriter. He started with a few stretches, barely able to bend forward more than a few inches. He tried doing some squats, but his knees buckled. “Man, I’m weak,” he said, as he tilted his head to the side and stretched his arms wide.
He snapped his fingers and shuffled his feet. “When in doubt, dance it out!” Needing some tunes for a beat, the words of a famous Eagles song filled the room, “Desperado, oh, you ain’t gettin’ no younger…Your pain and your hunger, they’re drivin’ you home…”
Oh, if only Jeff could go home. But, he knew he couldn’t. He knew what it meant to leave before the retreat ended. Not only would he feel like a complete failure, but the others would know he was an imposter. And, his wife would know the truth. No, he could not go home. He had to continue his work.
He pulled back the swivel chair, took a seat, and found he was mid-sentence when he stopped and went bed. “Hmm,…I guess I better take a look at what I wrote, get back into my mind, and finish that sentence.” With his feet propped next to the typewriter, and the stack of papers in his hands, he started reading from the beginning, “…She caressed his amber hair, gazed into his eyes, and their faces melted into one…” After a few pages, his feet dropped to the ground and Jeff started marking the pages in red. He didn’t make it to the last page because he started pacing the room, frantic.
“The Love of My Life; what a generic title. Nobody wants to read this. I can’t believe I thought I had something going; this is nothing but JUNK. And, look at all these typos.” He flipped through the pages and pointed at all the marks he made. “Good grief! A child could do better than this.” Flailing his arms, the papers went everywhere. “I have to start over. Or, I have to quit. Maybe I should just accept it; I’m not a writer. I’m a wannabe.” He paced the room, attempted to pick up the mess in one sweep, and managed to throw only half of it in the trash.
Suffocated by the large furniture and all the clutter, his breathing became rapid. He sat at the end of the bed, trying to calm down. His mind unraveled and he feared he was losing it, “Why can’t I stop talking to myself?”
He envisioned the streets of the quaint little downtown, bustling with crowds and chaos, everyone happy to be off work for the weekend. In his mind, it was a perfect day. The sun shined, while he was stuck in a world of sanitary white, under bright fluorescent lights.
He debated whether or not he should step outside. Take a break. Clear his head. Maybe walk around The Inn; enjoy its rich, colonial history. He imagined all the nooks and crannies in every hallway and how they must be filled with treasures and antiques procured from around the world. He thought of how much Monette would love the place. He pondered heading down to the receptionist’s desk and booking a romantic getaway for the two of them.
But, when it came down to it, he knew if he left the room, he had to face something almost as horrifying as Miss Davies — the four flights of stairs. “Bah! The two are the same, old and rickety.” Every time he made a trip down, he knew he must come back up. Every time it got harder and took a little bit longer.
The room felt smaller, more claustrophobic, than ever before. The nails were staring back at him, torturing him, pressuring him to write. Jeff knew he was trapped. He had to find a way to focus, and regroup. He needed something quick, something that told him he could do it.
Honey, that’s great! I’m so proud of you. Keep it up. M xoxo
The stakes even higher, he moved towards his vision board, desperate. Nothing. He’d exhausted his thoughts on every photo and every quote. He grabbed the board from the wall and yanked everything off of it. He let out a long, loud groan and threw the papers towards the typewriter. His nostrils flared, he moaned through his teeth, “This room…I cannot…no more.” He stood still and listened for some type of sound, any sound.
Nothing! Not only was there no outside noise, or no window to look from, there was no art to contemplate. No rug to inspect, no weaver’s story to trace. Not even a design on the duvet.
When he looked around, he saw the disaster he’d made. The disaster that proved he didn’t know what he was doing. The disaster that made him want to escape. Pointing his finger in the air, he yelled, “RESIST! Jeff, resist the temptation to leave this room!”
Backing himself into the bathroom, he turned and looked at himself in the mirror. His eyes were blood-shot and bulged from their sockets. His skin sagged. The hair around his ears stuck straight up. “Look at you! You’ve gone mad! Is this really what you want? To be admitted to this asylum of choosing? The asylum of writing? Is it worth it?”
He stood stock-still, stared at his crazed face, and wondered just exactly who looked back at him. A face that was unrecognizable, yet very familiar. With a throbbing head, and ringing in his ears, he backed away from the maniac in the mirror and zombie walked towards the only exit. As he turned the doorknob, he heard an evil laugh, loud enough to jar him from his trance. He shrieked, “That noise, I fear, is coming from me!”
Just before he pulled the door towards him, he slammed it shut. “You dumb fool. THIS IS IT! This is living! ADMIT IT.”
He fell, sprawling himself across the floor, and cried out, “It’s just ONE day of my life. One day!” He took a deep, long breath, sighed, and wiped the sweat from his brow. He pulled his head up, rested his body on his elbows, and whispered, “If I can’t sit and write for one day, I can’t call myself a writer.”
“Mr. Wright? Are you in there?”
Still no answer.
Whispers were heard in the hallway, keys were shuffled, and the door knob turned with a gentle twist. The housekeeper peeked inside the room. “Mr. Wright, oh my goodness! Are you okay?” She turned to someone in the hall, “Hurry, get help. We need a doctor. He’s passed out, on the floor, in fetal position.”
Minutes later, a male doctor, Miss Davies, two female housekeepers, and the young receptionist were all hovering over Jeff, as he lied on a patch of the floor in front of his desk, papers still strewn around the room.
The receptionist placed a second basket of welcome goodies and a plate of fruit next to his bed. The doctor knelt, pulled out his stethoscope, and said, “Everyone, please, step back and give the patient some room. We need to stretch out his legs and gently roll him onto his back. Let’s see if the movement will wake him.”
As soon as Jeff was alert, his head started bouncing like a pinball. He looked at the doctor, to Miss Davies, to the receptionist, back to the doctor, and so on. Sensing his confusion, Miss Davies spoke up, “Son, it’s okay. We just wanted to make sure you were all right. I’m in the room below you, and it was really loud for awhile, and then silent. My ceiling shook at one point, so I called the front desk.”
Jeff didn’t know what to say, so he nodded his head and blinked his eyes. The doctor helped him sit up, and said, “Well, good news is, looks like everything is fine. You are a little dehydrated, maybe need a snack to eat, and should think about going to bed early tonight. Nothing to be alarmed about. Take it easy, okay, Mr. Wright?”
Still a little undone, he could only answer, “Yes.”
Everyone left. But, not before giving him their own piece of advice:
“Go for a walk in the garden,” said the receptionist.
“Drink a glass of water every hour,” said the housekeeper.
“Have a snack, or two. And, a light dinner; maybe just some salad, or soup,” said Miss Davies.
“Don’t sit too long. Get up and stretch every thirty minutes,” said the other housekeeper.
Once Jeff was alone, he looked at his watch and tried to orient himself. It was just after noon, so he must’ve passed out for close to two hours. He started to feel anxious again, that he was running out of time, that he wouldn’t have anything good to turn in before tomorrow’s deadline.
He sat in the desk chair, rubbed the top of his thighs, and allowed himself to get lost in his thoughts. Spinning in the chair, he looked at the room from every angle and thought about all that had happened the prior 18 hours.
Suddenly, he stopped, and stood. He wanted to give his story one more shot. But, there was something he had to do first. He grabbed the towel wrapped around his pillow, threw it around his neck, placed his fists on his hips, and declared, “I am Super Wright-er! I write stories. And, I write them well!”
He grabbed a bag of Trail Mix from the basket, opened a bottle of water, sat at the desk for his final session, and craved a more therapeutic session. The buffet was open, he could smell grilled steak and fried potatoes coming from the kitchen. “NO WAY, JEFF,” he told himself. “You will write until you must eat…not until the hunger makes your body burn with life.”
He closed his eyes, swirled in the chair. His eyes popped open and he said, “OF COURSE! THAT’S IT! That’s exactly what I need to write.” About to leap from his chair, he hovered over Hermes. His mouth widened, his tongue hanged from the side. His cape swayed with every move. Words flowed, his fingers typed — SuperFast — his hands trying to keep up with his mind. In the heat, he wrote his new piece, Love, Pure Lust.
For hours, Jeff pushed himself to keep going. He found his rhythm, his potential. He was mesmerized by the world and activity in his mind. His surroundings no longer had any pull on him; his imagination was too strong. “I’ve got a whole nation of Imagines inside me. Everything else is just boring.” That was the moment it came together for Jeff. The moment he realized his dream had come true. He died the death of a writer. Dead to the outside world; writing from a world within.
The next morning, Jeff packed his suitcase and put everything exactly as it was when he arrived. He took a moment to touch everything in the room, to feel the power at his fingertips one last time. He stood in the doorway, taking a mental picture. When he finished, he closed the door, descended the staircase for the final time, walked to the library, and laid his story in the pile labelled, To Read.
As he headed to the breakfast room, a wave of calm swept over his body. No longer scared to come face-to-face with Miss Davies, he was ready to look her in the eye. The excitement bubbled inside him; he was a glass of champagne, poured two-seconds after the cork popped.
At the end of a long morning of workshops, writing exercises, and mingling with other guests, Jeff was ready to check-out. He walked to the table and sat in front of Miss Davies, prepared for the worst. He received a welcoming smile and a little jest, “You look much better when you’re attentive and upright, son!”
After their talk, they shook hands, and Jeff thanked her for the professional tips and writing advice. With sound mind, he took his stack of papers from her desk. On his way out the door, he took another look at the message at the bottom of the first page. Nice start, Jeff. There’s a great story here. In your next draft, go bold! Make your characters jump off the page.