It was a hot night. I was sitting at my desk playing at being a writer again.
I had everything I needed neatly in front of me: my laptop, my drink…
I had decided to go with a fifth of whiskey tonight. It got to me in a way other things couldn’t.
I sat there and started sipping at my drink, slowly, carefully, while waiting for something literary or artistic or creative to happen.
I sat there drinking for a while…
And then something did happen.
I started to have a headache. I felt this unbearable pain at the top of my head, like someone was drilling into my skull. The pain quickly intensified, and I felt my head slowly detaching from my neck and rolling on the desk in front of me…
I gripped my drink firmly and kept drinking. I kept at it to make the pain go away, but all it did was get stronger.
This is madness, this is crazy, I thought. How will I be able to create with all this pain going around?
But that was one of the many challenges of the writer: he writes through blood, sweat and tears. He writes in laughter and sorrow, pain and anxiety, relief and bliss.
But I could not write in pain. Somehow it discouraged me.
Why was I so weak, so vulnerable?
I put down my drink and got up. I started circling my room, hoping the motion would shake off the excruciating pain or lessen it at least.
But it was just the same. The drilling feeling in my head wouldn’t go away. If anything, it got even worse.
With every passing second I watched hopelessly as my condition worsened and my screen page remained empty. Blank. Just like my thoughts. But where were they all going? Where were they being filtered? Maybe they were just as helpless as I was, consumed by the pain and the suffering in my head.
I tried to tilt my head sideways, maybe the pain would drop out; nothing.
I tried banging it a few times to rattle the inside. Still nothing.
I looked over at the fifth of whiskey on the desk. Even alcohol, the most powerful and effective cure in the world, could not save me now.
I was a doomed man. Doomed to the mysterious pain in my head, doomed to not writing that damned page, doomed to not enjoying the pleasure of drinking, doomed to living this way.
I wanted it to stop. I wanted to take it all away: the headache, the pain, the writing, the drinking. All of it.
But I couldn’t. For you see, it was out of my hands. I was a puppet whose strings were being pulled by life.
I circled the space a few more times and then thought, well, if this were to work, it would have already done the trick. I decided to slump in my desk chair again.
But then the strangest thing occurred: I saw a small thing fall out of one of my ears.
It looked like a tag, a white rectangular piece with writing on it.
I grabbed it, lifted it, brought it closer to my face and read the inscription: INSPIRATION.
Inspiration! You were the source of my troubles! You brought me pain, anxiety and despair! But now I have you by the throat, you scoundrel!
But the tag was shaking. It was quaking in my hands as if it was trying to break free. And before I knew it, it did!
It jumped and landed on my desk, started running around and hitting random keys on my laptop, before finally bouncing off the walls.
I could only watch it with amazement.
It swung from the light bulb hanging on the ceiling, landed on the bed, then bounced off another wall. I couldn’t catch it. I could barely keep track of it with my eyes.
It bounced off the opposite wall. It hit my skull, and my world started to turn again. It tickled my ear and followed up with its wild stunt.
How do you catch something like that? How do you control it?
I got up and, with what little strength I had left, tried to swat it with my hands. But it was too fast for me.
It was going crazy, bouncing from wall to wall, on the floor, on the bed, on the desk, on my face…
Finally it was starting to wear out. As it bounced off another wall and attempted to use my forehead as a springboard, I slapped it and it landed on my desk.
I felt victorious, I felt powerful. I was looking strong now.
It was dizzy now. It had trouble recovering from that setback.
I looked over at the fifth of whiskey next to it. I grabbed the drink and started pouring it slowly over the tag.
As the drops of booze fell on its head, it suddenly started to grow. With every drop it seemed to grow a bit more. And more. And more.
I marveled at the thing: it seemed to like alcohol almost as much as me.
It kept growing and I kept observing it with amazement. Finally I decided to pour the remainder of the cup on it.
The thing started to wobble a bit before finally spurting from all sides. It became so big it covered everything: the desk, the laptop, the walls, the floor, the ceiling, the room…
It was bigger than me, bigger than everything. It was so massive it covered everything including me. I felt it wrapping me like a giant blanket.
Then I felt slowly sinking into it, and everything suddenly got warm.
Then in a flash everything was gone. The giant white blanket, the drilling in my head, the headache. Nothing of it all remained. It was just me again, staring at my laptop screen with an empty fifth of whiskey.
I was eager to write. Somehow, it had all come back to me: the will, the determination, the inspiration. It had taken a trip into my world to feed its shrinking being and grow stronger.
It felt strange to deal with my inner inspiration, to confront it, to conquer it. It almost felt like a game.
I guess that’s why they call it playing with inspiration: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.