Writer's Block: an eulogy

In which I fall over the fourth wall trying to crucify my writer's block and wind up writing absolute rubbish at 3am.

But hey, I wrote a thing.

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1. This is how I die

 Uh, yeah. I'm sorry in advance. Writer's block has been getting me down so I tried to turn it into a story? Yep. That's 100% all this is.

*

Helen sat at her desk staring glumly down at a piece of paper, eraser shavings littered around the edges of her desk. She ran a finger along the edge of the sheet of paper, forehead furrowing into a line of frustration.
 

“Look,” Helen said, setting down the blank piece of paper and turning to her unwelcome companion with a grimace. “I’m not really enjoying the stare down with this empty sheet of paper every night.”
 

“I’ll leave any time you want,”
 

“Leave then,” Helen said, folding the corners of the paper over before straightening them out again. She traced her teeth with her tongue, biting her lip for a split second before massaging a circle of distress into her forehead. “I don’t want you here.”


“Sweetheart, nobody wants me.”


“Then why do you exist?” She asked, finally scrunching up the piece of paper in anger and letting it bounce off the wall. She’d expected some kind of satisfaction to come from the movement, but there wasn’t enough weight in the paper to ease the ebb of irritation.


“Maybe I don’t,” Writer’s block said, lips twisting into a nasty expression of enjoyment. “Maybe,” she said, reaching out and touching one of her long fingers to Helen’s forehead, “this is all in your head.”


Everything about the woman smacked off smarminess. Everything from the smooth lines of the pencil skirt and smart suit jacket, to the crisp edges of her smile made Helen want to wrap her own fingers around the woman’s neck and squeeze.


She’d had several vivid fantasies of putting on pointy shoes and kicking the bitch’s shins until they bruised. She wanted to kick hard enough that it hurt her toes, as well as Writer’s Block’s shins. She wanted to colour her cheeks blue, yellow and black and shove her out the room and make her stay the fuck away and write, write in that way that took the sharp edges of the world and made it easier to deal with.

 

Most of all, she was searching for some form of release. If it wasn’t in form of transferring thought to paper, then maybe beating the crap out of the one holding the word’s ransom might actually help something.

 

“I don’t need your psychology crap,” Helen said, firmly, as she pulled out another piece of paper from her stock pile, “my inspiration is not dictated by the whims and passing fancies of anything or anyone.”
 

“Oh, sweetie,” Writer’s Block said, red lipstick smiles and a raised eyebrow, “you’re an artist.”


“That’s hardly justification for your existence,” Helen countered, leaning forward on her desk and pressing her fingers into her forehead for another moment. “I don’t believe in that supremacy crap. It’s a myth.”


“And yet,” Writer’s Block said, edging further onto Helen’s desk with one of those sly smiles. Now, she seemed to be taking up most of the space. Her thin, crisp edges seemed to expand and spilled out over the band of the skirt; stretching across the rectangular of wood and further into Helen’s space. “Here I am.”


“You hardly need to put on weight,” Helen said, drawing back from her desk to give her loathsome companion some space. Maybe, if Helen just ignored her than Writer’s Block would just go away. It seemed very likely that she was only lingering around the room in order to get some degree of attention.


Well, she didn’t have to write. It wasn’t a compulsion. There was absolutely no reason she couldn’t just not have a staring competition with Writer’s Block, and could instead let Writer’s Block fester while she focused on the other things she did.


Except, she seemed to constantly hover in her periphery. Everywhere, the corners of her vision were crinkled with the knowledge that Writer’s Block was there and waiting and hanging around and whispering you’re useless you’re useless you’re useless…


And being followed around by all those empty sheets of paper. All those words that weren’t being written, but were instead clogged up somewhere; stagnant and useless… and the characters that were supposed to occupy half her brain state seemed to have walked off, leaving Helen’s mind empty and sort of lonely. And flat.

 

“There’s no colour without the descriptions,” Helen muttered in frustration, slamming her elbows on the desk (and ignoring the sharp pain that shot up her bones).

 

“That’s almost profound,” Writer’s Block said, long chubby fingers splayed out on the back of her chair, red lipstick smile still mocking, “why don’t you run with it?”

 

“Why don’t you screw yourself.” Helen said through gritted teeth, writing the six words down. There was something satisfying about scratching words onto a sheet of paper and watching the ink stain the pristine white of the pages. The words were reassuring. Beginnings were good. Beginnings were, quite often, the start of something.
 

“What’s next?” Writer’s Block asked, breath hot on Helen’s ear. Helen felt like she could feel her smile in the air, despite the fact that she was resolutely not looking in her direction. Helen would not give in. She was nothing. She was, as stated before, she some imaginary wall she’d built herself. She wasn’t real. “You don’t know, do you?” Writer’s Block taunted, “You don’t know how the story eenddss, Helen.”


Maybe all prose is purple.


Helen wrote, the thumb of her left hand digging into her forehead. The nail was pressing into her skull enough that there was a line of pain keeping her focused.

 

There’s no colour without the descriptions. Maybe all prose is purple.

 

“Why do I bother, anyway?” Helen asked,  biting her lip and dropping the pen.

 

“That doesn’t sound like much of a third line,” Writer’s Block said, serene, “doesn’t really seem to go.”

 

Helen threw her pen at the bitch and started to cry. It was only appropriate, really, when the damn woman had been haunting her like a bad smell for the past two months.

 

“Call yourself a writer,” Writer’s Block said, stretching out her large limbs. She looked huge again, vastly expanding to take up the whole damn room.

 

“Get any fatter, I’ll suffocate.”

 

“That’s the plan,” Writer’s Block said, twiddling her pen through her fingers and arching an eyebrow, “what did you think my endgame was, here?”

 

“You already pointed out I don’t know how it ends.”

 

“Save your sass for your writing,” Writer’s Block said, “you know, in real life, you’re not half as clever. That’s why I’m really enjoying incapacitating you. When push comes to shove, and I take away your weapons, you just sit there and take it. You let me render you worthless, Helen, by letting your stories define you.”

 

“Getting a little too into the psychological analysis, here.”

 

“Oh shut up,” Writer’s Block said, standing up this time and drawing herself to her full height, “you like the idea of being a tortured soul with your stories and your witty characters. You like having your adventures and your romances and your dystopian, why? It’s because you can’t deal with reality. You write mean characters to make yourself feel better about yourself. You write about people who are falling apart because you think maybe you understand how that feels."
 

“So,” Helen said, bottom lip wobbling, “what? I sit here until you suffocate me?”


“Well, what else are you good for?”


“Maybe if you gave me some space I’d work it out.”


“Maybe if I gave you some space, you’d just keep writing forever.”


“I like writing,” Helen spat out, wrapping an arm around her stomach and shuffling further back in the corner (in order to get away from Writer’s Block, who was becoming more and more repulsive already). “It’s the only damn time I feel like I have any power in the world.”


“And what are you doing with this theoretical power? Writing teen romance books with pink writing on the covers? They’re not even popular teen romance books with pink writing on the front. You’re rating on Good Reads has gone down to 4.0.  Hardly anyone reads your fanfiction anymore, because you haven’t been writing.”


“I’m trying to sort my life out!” Helen said, squaring her shoulders up against the onslaught, “and just lay off. I’m doing fine.”


Helen scrabbled to her feet, hitting her elbow off the wall in the process and strode over to her desk with a grimace. “I won’t let you make me feel bad about this anymore. I won’t let you. I gave up letting other people make me feel bad about myself a long time ago.”


“You tried that track, Princess,” Writer’s Block said, smiling, “Remember that week you tried to pretend you weren't  a writer? Dropped out of Nano, hid from your writer friends, blocked yourself from the writing sites? All you realised is that you don’t have a life.”


“I am going to write.”


“I’m still here.”


“Not for long,” Helen said, standing up, “I’m going to stab you with my wit, because I’m that sodding sharp. I’m going to write books and sequels and fanfiction, and you won’t stop me, you attention whore.”

 

Helen retrieved her pen from where she’d thrown it across the room at some point. The nib was slightly bent and a smear of ink suggested the pen had likely seen better days, but that was okay. It would serve the purpose.  Maybe things would be a little rough around the edges for a while.

 

She rounded on Writer’s Block.

 

“Where are you going to start?” Writer’s Block asked, except the quirk of her eyebrows this time seemed like overcompensation from the watery quality of her eyes. She seemed to be shrinking again, bulging limbs receding into themselves. Her lipstick smiled seemed more comical than imposing.

 

“With your bloody eulogy, that’s where.” Helen said, driving the pen into Writer’s Block chest with all the force her right arm could manage.

 

(Of course, stabbing people with pens isn't particularly effective, especially when the stabber in question’s primary source of arm muscle is from moving the laptop from one room to another, but as this is actually a metaphor I’m prepared to stretch the suspension of disbelief this far, and pretend that this story has actually served its purpose). 

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