Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The struggle of writing.

The struggle of writing

When I started putting together this blog I was struck by the indefinable nature of writing. How does one bring oneself to a mindset where the real and the unreal (imagined), lose their own definition within the mind.


I was sitting on the wall that surrounds the parking lot of my apartment complex, watching the traffic, enjoying the spring day, when a large black bird flew down and landed some fifty feet away.

The object of the birds attention was a bag of discarded McDonalds that some useless destroyer of planets had casually deposited on the pavement. There was nothing out of the ordinary, or very interesting in the scene.

—But wait—

In my mind I saw an elderly lady, inexpensively but neatly dressed, enter the parking lot with a brown paper bag.

Standing just inside the lot, she opened the bag and began to throw broken bits of bread out onto the pavement and make little clucking sounds.

The bird stopped what he was doing and stood looking at her, cocking his head first one way and then the other. He made a few tentative little hops toward the bread on the ground, until he reached the edge of the strewn area, where he stopped.

The lady kept up the clucking and cooing noise as she spread the bread around. Finally she reached into the bag and pulled out a large, whole slice of bread. Bending at the waist, supporting her weight on her right knee with her right hand, she began waving the bread in front of her, while clucking and cooing and speaking softly to the bird.

To my great surprise, the bird made one giant leap, and perched on her extended arm. They stood silently looking at each other. Finally the lady slowly raised herself up, slowly and carefully, as she took the slice of bread in her right hand and offered it to the bird.

With the speed of a Cobra, the large black bird reached out and plucked her eyeball from its socket. The lady fell to her side on the pavement.

The bird hopped away a few paces and stood looking at her.

Blood flowed.

The lady screamed with an annoying wail that was a mixture of pain and righteous indignation.

The bird began to hop back and forth in a dance like those of a football player who had just scored a touchdown.

The bird took to flight, no cawing or cries of victory coming from him. He flew with power and grace and with the determination of a champion who was carrying his prize home.

I sat motionless as I watched the scene play out, unsure if I wanted to become involved.

Did I have to?

Did I want to?

What did the lady think was going to happen? It’s a fucking wild animal. Did she think she was going to take it home as a pet?

This is where the struggle of the writer comes in. Why would I be asking myself all of these questions, especially considering that an elderly woman was lying in the parking lot bleeding to death?

—I shook my head and viewed the scene in front of me. The bird was still pecking at the bag of trash. There was no elderly woman lying on the ground and there was no immediate action that I needed to take. It all went away like the last dream before waking.

—Except for the questions.—

That, to me, is the struggle of fiction. Is it a creative process or a mental instability?

Is it the ability to observe things that might be, or is it schizophrenia?

Why do I always have to ask why and what if?

Is it different for everyone else, or is it a natural process?

I would really like to know.

Jim Bronaugh

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