John has writers block. How will he fix it?
John Hemmington sat at his desk quite alone in his dull lit room that had gradually become darker as the hours had passed by. He sat with a quill, in his hand, overhanging a spare bit of parchment sitting square in front of him. For nearly half the day he’d been sat there, feeling absolutely blank and incomplete. He had writers block. And for some time now, not just today. All week he had come home from his morning or afternoon shifts, sat down at this very desk with a crumpet and cup of tea, and done bugger all. It had been almost a month since John had last written about something practical; it had been a clever story about two song birds who spent an entire morning attempting to out-do each other, only to succumb to exhaustion and die.
Well at least, he thought it had been brilliant.
His mother and sister downstairs, to whom he normally set to judge his work, turned their nose up at it and handed it back to him without comment. That didn’t matter; he would wait until he returned to school so he could show his English teacher and undoubtedly get a brilliant award for it. Until then, he was left to mellow about and try to write more stories just to pass the time. But to get back to the original problem, there was just nothing coming to him. And this wasn’t out of trying; he had done several things in the past few days to attempt a spark of genius.
Just the other day he had shuffled his chair to his window, propped his leg up on the window sill and cast a yonder upon the open countryside, for which he had a rich and vibrant viewpoint. This had failed because in the twenty or so minutes he sat there, gazing at each and every item he could possibly use as inspiration, he got nothing. And in his subconscious boredom, he had been rocking his chair back and forth – and the one time that he tilted it back just that little too far, he had fallen back and hit his head. Wasted brain cells were the least of his worries.
The day after that he had had a lay down on his bed and stared at the ceiling for inspiration. Again nothing, not even when a spider scampered across from one corner to the other did John embrace inspiration. He had sighed and given up, eventually falling to sleep and missing supper. And then there was last night, when he had gone to sit at the bottom of the stairs with his parchment out in front of him, his quill tip pointed and ready and his eyes fixed firmly on the front door. Though despite the events of his sister arriving home, of his mother putting the cat out and his father telling him off for being in his way as he descended the stairs, he drew blank.
Today he had tried to stick to the basics. Sit, stare and start writing. He was sitting alright, staring perfectly straight but he never started writing. He wondered silently to himself if he would ever be able to write again, or to be able to process an idea in general conversation for that matter. He started getting scared about going back to school suddenly, imagining himself sitting front row centre, being asked a simple question about Poet Origins and being laughed at for not even saying a word. But then he remembered, if he could come up with that scenario in his head, ideas had not completely escaped him.
So why couldn’t he write?
Furious with himself he rose out of his chair, snapped up his bit of parchment and quill, left his crumpet to go cold and headed out onto the landing. It was indeed getting late; he could smell supper being cooked by his mother downstairs in the kitchen. The curtains in the drawing room had been closed and the window that normally poured the staircase with sunshine sat barely visible against dark-coloured wall. He hastily descended the stairs two at a time and reached the front door, carefully unhinging the delicate lock before pulling the door wide open and putting a foot outside.
He came to a halt. His mother, dressed in a long lime-green dress and an apron came into view, looking suspiciously at her son.
‘Where are you going at this hour, dear?’ she asked him.
John hesitated. Truth was, not even he knew the answer to that. If he had all the answers, he would be still up in his room, his hand a blur as it scribbled coherent words across the parchment. He took an in-take of breath to give himself a second to think, before replying.
‘Just going to sit on the front step until supper, mother,’ he informed her.
She raised her eyebrows at him, a soft smile spreading across her mouth. ‘Writing again?’
‘That’s the reason; actually,’ John explained to her, ‘my bedroom is just not abundant enough with ideas. So I’ve elected the front porch to be a better candidate.’
His mother sighed but showed no sign of restraint.
‘Very well,’ she said, ‘but when I call you you’re to be at the table ready for supper post haste, am I clear?’
‘Clear as day, mother!’
John grinned and closed the door; the last sight was of his mother returning to the kitchen. John took the handful of paces to the front step and sat down, carefully placing the parchment and quill to one side before glaring out into the street. It was a quiet little neighborhood to be fair, very limited activity but for residents in their cars that come or go. The street occupied about twenty houses, all quite similar in a way as far as shape and size goes. There was the occasional oddity about each place, nothing bizarre, just common everyday objects that may appeal to someone but nobody else. John often used this philosophy in his writing; the fact that everyone has their own individual characteristics and attributes meant that it wasn’t hard to write a good story if you had any sort of imagination.
Poor John felt let down by his own ways of writing right now that he wasn’t sure what to go by anymore. He watched a car drive up the street and pull into a driveway a little further down and wondered what that man’s story was. What was his name? Where did he work? Did he have a wife and family? All those questions answered could easily turn into a short-story, even a novel, if it weren’t for the fact that he knew for sure that man’s name was Michael Button who worked for All-main Industries on the east side of town and was married to Angela Bishop with two children.
John hated writers block.
He heard his mother calling his name and abandoned the front porch for now. Perhaps there was an idea waiting for him somewhere amongst his mother’s chicken casserole.