It was a dark and stormy night and I was a writer lost in a strange city! I had also, lost my inspiration. My writing wasn’t selling. All of a sudden a building came out of the gloom. It was completely lit up. Every window had light. It was like a welcoming beacon. The door was open, I walked in, and it slammed behind me. Every wall was lined with bookshelves with ladders zigzagging up to the ceiling, which must have been at least 50 feet high!
There was not a person in sight. I was alone with all those books!
Then, I heard voices, they seemed to come from the books!
All the greats were there: Hemingway, Twain, Fitzgerald, Woofe, Maughan, Sheldon, Shakespeare and many, many others. Their voices were all around me.
“How are you?’ A deep voice said.
“I feel like Hell, can you show me Heaven?’ I said.
“In Hell, writers are chained to their desks and whipped.”
“And in Heaven?”
“In Heaven, writers are chained to their desks and whipped.”
“Hell and Heaven are the same!”
“No, my friend, they’re not,” said an unseen voice. “In Heaven your work gets published!”
“I don’t write so good,” I said.
The voice continued: “If you can tell stories, create characters and devise conflict and have passion, it doesn’t matter how you write.”
“I find it hard to play God in my stories!”
“My friend, a blank piece of paper is the way of telling us how hard it is to be God.”
“I’ve lost my concentration, I can’t focus!”
“Your words are your lens to focus your mind,” said a woman’s voice.
“I’m not sure what people want to hear from me.”
“Don’t try to figure that out, just think about what you have to say. It’s all you have to offer.”
“My stories don’t seem to come alive.”
A voice from the very top shelf said: “The unread story is not yet alive. The reader, reading it, makes it live!”
I shook my head, my eyes were blurring. The books seemed to be dancing!
“But, I write such hopeless stories.”
“There’s no point in doing that, we all know we are going to die: what’s of prime concern to you is the kind of man you are in the face of this.”
I was trying to soak up all this knowledge that was being bantered about the walls of books!
“I struggle to find ideas.”
“My writer friend, everybody walks past hundreds of story ideas everyday. The writers are the ones who see two or three of them. Most people don’t see any.”
“I wonder, some times, if I have anything of interest inside of me?”
Many voices in unison said: “Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, all his qualities of mind are written in his stories.”
“Some times I feel so drained after a long writing session.”
“Three or four hours of fiction writing can leave you drained. Because, for that period of time you have been in a different place with different people!”
“I want to write stories the whole world will read, stories that people will react emotionally to, stories that will make them happy, stories that will make them scream and cry in pain and anger!”
“You will, my son, you will!” The voices started to fade away.
I walked out the door singing: “ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE!”
Dave, I think you accomplished it with this story. You wrote a compelling, suspenseful, perfectly-engaging story with a superb ending! Maybe your mission in life is to be a superb short story writer. Sometimes I think they’re harder to write than novels.
Great job with this blog post!
No one knows how important encouragement is to a writer except another writer! We all need a pat on the back now and then. Where is this building of books?
Cousin this is a good story. I think you should write about your youth in Chicago, I like to hear about you and what you have experienced in life. Now go to the pub, have a brew and start your new stories!
Dave, I agree with Rachel, I find your stories to be
enjoyable, witty, fun and I loved the ending of this
I also enjoyed your book “Web of Guilt”. It was a
fast paced story. I told all my friends to read it.
It had to be good to get Jim to read.
Dave, you are a writer. other than scripts and your blog, I don’t read anything including a newspaper. Don’t let me go.
Another good blog. Thanks Dave. Jo.