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Saturday, July 17, 2004

To Build an Essay

JACK LONDON, EAT YOUR HEART OUT
 
Every day in front of this computer screen is a struggle for me.  I feel like someone who has been shot in the stomach.  To save myself I have to crawl 500 words to medical attention.  Opening the lid of my laptop is when I am hit with the initial blast.  I am in shock, unable to think of a subject as I watch the blood of my battery slowly spill out.  I don’t have much time.   I force down panic.  Panic will kill you, but for the love of God why can’t I think of something to write about?  What is wrong with me?  Ouch!  Thanks, that slap to the face helped, but I think I feel a loose tooth. 
 
Sometimes I will crawl the wrong way for 100 or so words.  I realize this isn’t the way out so I hit the delete button and start over.  I can’t afford to make that sort of mistake twice in one day.  The pen may be mightier than the sword, but a laptop without power couldn’t fight its way out of a wet paper bag.  I want to be a writer, not a cautionary tale told to terrified English 101 students.
 
I apply direct pressure and peck out a sentence or two.  There are many days when my will to go on is feeble, at best.  When my keen survival instinct kicks into high gear I won’t let anything stand in my way.  Move aside originality.  I knee creativity in the groin and move forward as he doubles over in pain.  I am half-way there, but I feel tired.  I just want to close my eyes and make it all go away.  My laptop battery is down to 19%, no food or water.  Coffee is cold.  Tell someone that I love her.  I don’t care who, just pick somebody.  I like accents, tell a cute girl with an accent I love her.  This is just too painful.  I will just lie down over here and die.
 
But I go on.  I know that I have to keep going otherwise I will die a fate much worse than writers block.  I will become one of those guys who write right-wing political bile EVERY FUCKING DAY!  If that isn’t enough to keep a guy going I don’t know what is.  I summon all of my reserves to move on.  I turn off the spell-check to save presious battery time.  I grab a half-eaten scone someone has left on the table next to me.  At this point I’ll do whatever it takes to survive.  This is neither the time nor the place for dignity. Dignity and humor don’t belong in the same area code, and certainly not in the same essay.  I would slit dignity’s throat and eat his liver if I thought that would get me through this ordeal. 
 
I wanted to be an artist but I wasn’t accepted by that art school that advertises in the back of magazines.  I thought I drew a really good pirate. OK, I traced it.  What are you going to do, sue me?  Now I’m stuck doing this.  Sometimes it gets really messy right here at the end of the essay.  I am delirious and babbling incoherently.  My life passes briefly before my eyes.  What the hell could I have possibly been thinking with that haircut I had in 10th grade?  I don’t want to go out like this.  I’m too young.  Then I do a word count and see that I’m over 500 already.  I’m not proud of this but it’s good enough for government work.  I hit SAVE and close the lid.  That was a piece of cake.  See you tomorrow.     
 

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