Chasing Shadows

I had been pacing my room for hours, like a madman retracing his steps in an asylum.

It was one of those rare times when time itself was on my side; I had no distractions whatsoever – or rather, no excuses – to keep myself from writing a damn good page or two.

But something bugged me – like an itch or a bad pimple in the forehead – every time I decided to face my laptop and give it a shot.

It was ironic for someone who claims to love writing, wears it proudly on his chest and decides to dedicate his life to it – yet when it comes to actually performing the task, he finds himself lacking motivation and drive, and spends his time worrying incessantly about the quality of his work. Oh beautiful irony.

And so it proved to be. The man who often found himself alone, who had to stick up for himself and defend the choices he has made – no matter how controversial they were – has now become his own enemy; but how, just how do you escape from yourself?

Jesus Christ.

I drank my customary bottle of beer. It always helped set the mood and get the ideas flowing. But tonight was different. I hated different. I was a routine-kind-of-guy.

And for someone like that, there’s no better way to piss him off than to shake up his habits.
Oh yes, tonight was certainly going to be annoying.

But it wasn’t the lack of writing that worried me the most – after all, all writers experience writer’s block at some point – it was the lack of motivation. The depressing tune. The incessant procrastination that served as a cover-up for the cowering fear of never being good enough. As if some sort of emptiness had crept in and settled over my head, banishing all traits stemming from my vivid imagination, leaving not a single trace except for a hollow shell.

It was truly frustrating. After all, a writer without ideas is only a half-assed writer.

I was irritated.

I went for another bottle of beer, as if filling my body with booze would somehow fill my brain with ideas. I had this weird conception that the alcohol would channel into my mind and suddenly produce a stream of thoughts.

But I was brought back down to the reality of things. The cruel, gruesome reality of things. The reality that showed that I was an unfulfilled writer with possibly a mountain of potential but not a single word to show for it.
Frankly, it had become pathetic to the point of disgusting. Why couldn’t I simply wave my fingers like a wand and produce words?

The simplest things in life are often the most daunting. And here it was, writing, the simplest and most banal of all tasks, yet it proved more than a challenge for me.
It was the ultimate gauntlet, the test that I couldn’t pass, the finish line that I couldn’t cross tonight.

At this point, all the booze in the world couldn’t help me.

Hell, nothing could. I had reached the point of no return; the state of disillusionment that writing alone could cure. A tumultuous and turbulent barrier that whipped inside me like a storm, numbing all my senses and echoing like a deep reverberating voice in my mind:

‘Write’

‘Write with all your might as if your life depended on it.’

It was terrifying. A vision like no other. It was as if hell itself came together and formed a terrible beast that roared at me with fierce appetite, ready to chop off my head with every passing second.

By that time I had forgotten to check the clock. I don’t know if these hallucinations are the works of all the beer I consumed in the past few hours, or just my fears acting up and reminding me that writers are never born. Writers are made.
And as grueling as it might be, writing remains the most rewarding of professions. Or at least, I’d like to still think of it that way.

After tonight’s show, I’m starting to have my doubts.

I felt defeated. The overwhelming demands of writing had finally taken their toll on me. I have grown to dislike that bit about it – the hard bit. The lack of inspiration. The dried up pages thirsting for words. The lackluster working hours that often end in a dramatic drunken scene of self-pity and hallucinations.

I went to bed. Times like these make me wish sleep could resolve all my issues. That I could magically wake up in another world, where all my problems no longer exist and everything is taken care of. But that would be too easy. And sometimes, I like to think it’s life’s own way of being a tease; it likes to mess around with us before handing us the things we desire the most. Like a test to determine whether we are deserving of these things or not.

Maybe writing’s the same…

Maybe it’s just a tease…

A thing of beauty that’s hard to attain but forces you nonetheless to try harder…

It remained to be seen, just like other things that often take time to unfold.

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