Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Something from Nothing

I’ve been sitting here at my keyboard for the better part of an hour awaiting inspiration.

Usually just sitting here tapping lightly on the keys is enough to trigger a thought which sets me on the path to a righteous column, but today it didn’t work.

So, I decided to take it to the next level. I went to my closet and ferreted through all my old hats until I found my “Muse Cap” and put it on.

I sat back down at my computer. Tap, tap, tap — nothing. I adjusted the cap to one side thinking maybe the alignment was not optimal for vibe reception. I looked a little like the kids you see these days with baggy britches and a cap on sideways. It looked goofier on me than it does on them, if that is possible. But when I’m desperate, I’ll try anything.

Tap, tap, tap. I had no luck so I promptly stuck a couple of Q-tips in my ears to boost the signal. Tap, tap, tap — nothing. I’d seen that done once in a movie. The actor looked somewhat silly and come to think of it, I don’t think his reception improved by using the Q-tips either. I was not discouraged because I was building my creative antenna.

I snagged my 3-D glasses that I keep on my desk for — actually I don’t recall why I keep them on my desk, but this evening I put them on to enhance the creative flow. Tap, tap, tap. Nada.

As I looked to the ceiling in deep thought, I noticed a swath of cobwebs in the corner big enough to use for weaving a sweater. I started to fire off a note to housekeeping but realized just in time that I had not eaten that evening. Any hope of a warm meal would be dashed with an ill advised note to the housekeeper who is also the cook.

I began to fret. What if my creative well has run dry? or worse, what if my head’s full? I pondered.

I could almost hear the psychiatrists saying: “Yes Mr. Watson, this is a natural part of aging. You’ve reached that stage in life where your head is full and the only way new information can enter through one ear is for some information to seep out the other ear.”

My mind began racing trying to figure out what I could afford to lose. My multiplication tables would be a natural place to start. Who needs those when you have a calculator? I also figured I could toss Economics, Accounting, Statistics, and most of the other stuff I learned in graduate school.

I had just started chanting Sanskrit trying to get my internal resonant frequencies balanced when Jilda walked in.

There I sat with a faded hat, which says “Fish Fear Me” on the front, Q-tips hanging out of my ears, wearing cardboard 3-D glasses and chanting in Sanskrit.

Have you been sniffing the magic markers again? Jilda asked. “You know that can give you brain damage!”

I had that writer-in-the-headlights look on my face. “I’m writing,” I explained as if that would account for my strange behavior.

I sat for a long while tapping the keys until I almost wore the letters off my keyboard, but inspiration never came.

Most writers I’ve talked to say that happens from time to time.

Anyhow, it is very fortunate that I don’t have to run my column ideas by my editors.

I can hear myself explaining, “Bear with me James because it’s complicated. The column this week is about nothing.”

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