Slaying the Beast

I don’t often get asked about my inspiration for writing but whenever I do, my answer’s always the same: writing is best done after a tragedy.

Of course tragedy here could mean many things – loss, hate, anger, sorrow. All the bottled-up feelings that send shock waves to the spine and bring the world crashing down.

The mistakes, the regrets, the slip-ups, all the things we are exposed to on a daily basis and wish we weren’t.

I find those things to be the most powerful motives for writing. Whenever I’m in pain, I find myself invariably heading to my desk and typing away at my laptop. It’s like a feeling that takes hold of me and possesses me. It’s not something I can shut down.

My deepest insecurities serve only one purpose: to feed the hellish monster that is writing. Only then is the true prowess of that craft ever revealed to me. It becomes too powerful for me to resist, and as I attempt to grapple with it, I quickly come to realize I am no match for it.

Whenever I am wounded, I feel akin to the mighty gladiator who – in spite of a broken limb or a bleeding forehead – duels to the death and never backs out from a fight.

I am that gladiator – slain by life yet failing to admit defeat. Failing to accept being knocked down. Refusing to stay down. My words are my sword, designed to pierce through anything without fail. Writing – that mighty lion caged with me – circles the room anxiously, waiting for the right moment to devour me.

I feel weak. I feel threatened. Yet something, like a deranged voice inside me, pushes me to my limits. Call it a gut feeling, call it intuition. Hell, call it alcohol.

But it is an electric feeling; an impulse, lightning-fast and potent. It stimulates my nerves and turns on my senses. It opens my eyes to the one true reality: I am ready to face the mighty beast! Bring on the grueling challenge that awaits me!

If my death is near then I’d rather it be at the hands of a page. A mind-crushing page with words transcribed with my blood. What striking irony!

I rethink of the jobs, the workload, the bills, the expenses, the money spent, the money I wish I’d made, the costs, the purchases again…yes, it comes back. It’s coming back to me just now. The beautiful symphony that is inspiration, singing to the tunes of my words, gently crafted on the page before me. I have slain the beast that is writing, I have conquered it in its own backyard!

I savor my victory in booze. But there is no rest, especially for the weak. He must always thrive and seek new conquests. Writing never sleeps and neither does the world. It constantly chases man down with its woes and troubles and sorrows and pains. And if that isn’t about to change soon, then I fear I will find myself with a bucket load of inspiration! There will be no legitimate excuse for not writing left!

Cruel beast! You keep fighting back! And as I bark and bite, you keep scratching and growling and clawing! And you never stop! Not until you rip off my face and take out my mind! But you will never penetrate my soul! For I choose to distance myself from you and not yield to that vile mistress called inspiration!

I grab a drink. It is past midnight. I decide not to yield into temptation any longer tonight. One only plays long enough with fire until he finally gets scorched. But tonight, there was no walking into the abyss. There would be no falling into the pit of despair. There would simply be flirting with the lines of doom. And the flirting stops here. The flirting stops now.

I drink again. I close my eyes and remember the sadness, the expenses, the costs, the deadlines…all of it again. I can’t turn it off.
What’s that I hear? The groaning of a nearby monster….

It has surely smelled my weakness once more…

The dripping blood from my soul leaves no room for confusion. I find myself stuck on the path of writing again.

Until my troubles go away. But if the world were to continue in its rich vein of form, then I am doomed to combating the beast forever.

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