Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Writing Exercise #2 ( Day 3 )

The author sighed as he looked at himself in the mirror. Here he was, on the young side of his thirties, and already he was starting to go gray. It was hard to reconcile the signs of age with how he felt. He was young and full of life, and yet here he was, with the first inescapable signs of age and decay.

He had idly thought about coloring the gray in his temples away, but pride or vanity kept him from doing so. The idea that he would feel the need to cover up some part of himself was too much, even for him.

He adjusted his jacket and brushed one hand idly through his hair to make sure it was in place, and then turned back to the other side of the room. There sat the typewriter. The rest of the desk was empty, save for a stack of blank paper and another stack face down.

The author sat and looked at the typewriter, his fingers hovering over the keys. There was power in this machine. And he wasn't thinking of electric typewriters, with their mechanical hum and their efficient ways. No, what was in here was far stranger ... and far more powerful.

He picked up an empty piece of paper and fed it into the machine. It was white. Pure. The machine chewed it up readily. Devouring it. Readying it for what he was about to do. There was only the quiet clicking of the gears of inevitability sliding the paper towards its oncoming fate.

The paper was before him, endless and full of possibility. Anything could come from it. It was bleached pulp covered in the glamour of aether. From nothing would come his work. It was the clay before the sculptor, the canvas before the painter, the cosmos before the eager God.

The machine waited, the keys begging to be touched, to be pressed. His fingers settled on the keys without a thought. It was comforting, like touching an old lover. The machine was more comfortable to him than his own body, and he knew it just as well. The keys gave slightly under his touch, at least to him, as if they were adjusting to cradle his hands in their cold embrace.

The typewriter was the vehicle of his creation. Thoughts flowed from his mind down into his fingers and into the machine, where they were made ever more spectacular by whatever infernal talent had been grafted within it over a decade ago. It was his thunderbolt, his hammer, his staff of power. And he would wield it as he always did.

Almost by their own power, his fingers began to move upon the keys. Pressing down each letter was more instinct than thought. His mind was cleared aside from his singular goal of producing a work. The keybars leapt up like outthrust spears and stamped their brands upon the paper. The aether was turned into matter, the potential turned into the real, as word after word was pressed into the paper with the finality of metal and flesh and will.


The letters gathered themselves up into words which strung together into sentences. Again and again thought was made real, the straight lance of the author's intention being transmuted into prose before his eyes. The typewriter guided his fingers as much as his fingers guided the keys.

Knock, knock.

Letters gave way with the slightest touch. The wrong paths held firm against a misplaced finger. And together, man and machine built and constructed something that transcended both-

Knock, knock knock.

-they created worlds where once there was naught.

"Jesus, I can't believe you're at it again. Today of all days."

The author looked up at the sound of a voice, the connection between him and the machine suddenly severed. His thoughts evaporated like an ill-remembered dream and he was left to grasp onto reality on his own. "David. Hey, sorry. You know how it is. You get an idea, and all."

"But ... today? I guess that's what makes you the successful one."

"You're not doing too badly for yourself."

"Different field, chap. Come on, they're waiting for you."

"Me? Already?"

"How long do you think you've been at it?"

The author looked down at his desk. Before him was a new stack of paper, and as he thumbed through it, he counted perhaps a dozen sheets. "I ... don't know."

"You really get into this stuff," David said with a shake of his head.

"Well, that is my job."

"Anyway, get up. You can't be late to your own wedding."

"Hah," the author said, standing up, straightening his coat. "How do I look?"

"Pretty good, actually. Now come on!"

And the two men made their way out of the room and down the hallway and into the main chapel where everyone was already waiting. And there, they headed towards the front before the alter, where the author took his place front and center and David Taurino, journalist and literary critic, stood behind him as his best man.

"So is book two going to be any better than book one?" David murmured from his place at the author's side.

"The first one was good. You just have no taste. And yes, it'll be great. I'm the breadwinner now, you know."

"Plight of the working author. You're the one who decided to start a family."

"I waited long enough, until I made money. What more do you want?"

"True, you're already ahead of the curve on that one. Still ... don't you think you're doing this all out of order?"

"You know me, never doing anything the right way."

And then they were quiet as the music started and the doors opened and in walked the bride. And once again, the author's mind wandered. Barbara was radiant as she made her way down the aisle, glowing with all the adoration of the people in the chapel. Her dress was as pure as the paper he had been using not fifteen minutes before. And much like the paper, this was only temporary. She would not be moved from the dress, even if it only drew attention to the pronounced swell of her abdomen and the life growing inside of it. Much like the paper, what was pure passed through his hands marred and made different.

From nothing to something, he thought idly as she approached the altar. She was smiling up at him, and he smiled down at her, and his heart sang.

As I exist, I create, the author thought. And now, a family.

And we all live happily ever after.

No comments: