The heroine of his story looked over from her exile. “Now, boss? You want to hear the rest of the story now?”
“Pretty soon,” he promised. “Pretty soon.”
… or WAS it a promise? He’d been here before — trying to figure out his impulse to procrastinate, the fear of accomplishing the task, the certainty the story would not turn out as good as he wanted it to be. Why did he let that stop him every time?
When he was a child, the act of creation was the reward, the scribbles on paper telling stories or pulling songs of the ether was all he needed, and every so often something would really sing back to him. Even now a captured thought, a seized image, a turn of phrase would give him a private delight in the morning stillness. What was it that had turned the storytelling into a chore?
How could he turn the spigot back on once the flow of words has been closed for whatever reason for so long? The stories had come in spurts, then trickled, and finally dribbled into dryness. “Oh yeah, that’s normal,” the writing mentors insisted. “Just plow through.” “How?!” “Just do it.” “What?!?!”
He supposed it did make sense. If you give yourself no choice except to sit there motionless, you fill the page with anything until something emerges from the chaos. You become the infinite monkeys at typewriters and Hamlet is waiting in there to come out randomly. Is it as easy as that? Fill infinite pages and look back to find the accidental genius? It feels like that some days.
“Now, boss? Want to hear what comes next?”
He realized he could rescue his heroine faster by sitting down and putting words on the screen than by sitting on the couch watching this week’s game.
Did Eliot mean to write “The Waste Land” or was he tired of the blank page?