They say the life of an artist is a life of inspiration, ‘the Poet’ can move mountains and make kings weep. I was an ‘artist‘, I weaved a tale of swords and sorcery and one of life and of loss. It was no masterpiece, but it was mine.
It has been six months since I have put ink to paper. I’m frightened, poetry is all I know. If I can’t write, I can’t do anything. So I take the keys to my uncles summer home, it is up in the tundra of Minnesota. I am going to write again. Even if it kills me.
I pack up my car with soda and brownies. Then I take a bottle of Gin and stuff it into my coat, my ‘medication‘ and I case of ‘Jack‘ just in case. that plus my computer should be all I need to survive up there for two weeks.
The first six day’s passed without me being able to think of more the five words. So, to the next step. I lock myself in the master bedroom! I will deny myself anything of human comfort; even sunlight if need be, speed, soda, and imagination, and booze should be all I need.
The first week passes…
First day locked in the bedroom, ‘the night is…’ that’s all I have, that would be all I’ve had for weeks. Tomorrow will be better, I’m sure of it.
Sun rise. I’ve been staring at a blank computer screen for almost twelve hours consecutive. ‘it’s the best of time it’s the worst of time…’ ‘we hold these truths to be self evident’ ‘call me Ishmael’ what is the formula for greatness? General Washington convinced four hundred multiculturals to storm the British fleet on Christmas Eve with bare feet, and here I am without the inspiration to even complete a thought.
I haven’t had anything to eat since noon Friday, the only things sustaining me are carbonated beverages’ and the booze, I take my medicine, I feel alright still. I look over my shoulder at the door and imagine it is chained shut. I finely move from my chair and take a step in front of the door. I reach up and turn the switch, the lights go off, I laugh, hit it again, they turn on. This goes on till dusk. My computer is now the only-thing illuminating the box I live in. I can hear it raining.
‘the night was…’ what if the night was moist? Or cold, hot? What if it was hot the previous day but it is cold now, ‘the night was foggy?’ that is the bane of all poet, the perfect words ‘the night was bright’ why? How? What if ‘the day is dark’ is it cloudy?”
My head is spinning, I double down on shots, I almost forget to take my meds, they makes me feel better. The key to any story is the illusion that is creates. The right words fashion the world you live in and the people that surround you. A gifted storyteller need not know how a story is going to end only how it will start. The world is an organic place. Once it is populated it germinate on its own.
I can hear things outside that I can’t understand. The scraping of aluminum against glass is the best way I can put it. I prop my bed against the window to deafen the sound. It becomes impossibly dark. I turn on the lights, but they fail to pierce the unnatural darkness. I see eyes staring at me through the void. My computer is the only thing I can see aside from the velvet eyes in the shadows.
I cower in the cold light of the monitor hiding from the darkness in the only light that I can find. ‘the night was still…’. the house makes noise, it creeks and crakes, rumbles and stirs. The printer alongside me groans spitting out papers, page after page of what looks at first as only binary but as page after page roll out I feel it taking shape. A hand, a head, another hand, a face, many faces, then at-last me lost within the eternity. I sing to myself in comforting madness. I cower, I’m a mess, balled up hugging my lags to my chest in the darkness.
Obsession, we have all been there, nothing becomes something in time of desperation…
As the sun rises the horrible night is vanquished for the moment. I take my medicine, my mouth is dry, my hands are num. I find myself sitting in the middle of the floor arranging the montage of papers to admire it in its grotesque completion. I can hear scrapping at the door, as I look up hand-marks are burning into it. Then the door is gone swallowed by shadows. Sometimes what we see we do not, what is isn’t, what will be, will be no more…
Fear, anxiety. These are things we all feel, that is at the heart of our reality, these are the thing we try to escape in are fantasies. Lust, we all crave the release that sex brings. Hardship is defining. All elements must come together to complete the world of dreams or we’ll fail to believe.
I close my eyes for only a moment. I feel a crushing weight atop me. My eyes spring open the night has come. A woman lays over me, it’s face is white as bone, her eyes nightshade, she wares the shadows like a misty robe. I scream. The night end and the day has come again, I‘m loosening all perception of time. I smash my folding chair to peaces, then thrash my room, I can’t fight my fear. My rage reveals a mag-light hidden behind the nightstand, there‘s a sticker on it like that which you might find in a church gift shop. It reads ‘salvation‘.
The night has come for me again. I try to chase it away with the flashlight, it works for a time. ‘the night was inescapable…’, I had tried to nail the windows shut earlier but it is useless, rolling blackness steams in through the windows. Death stairs me in the face. The night grows hands that reach out for me. Huddled in the corner I hide between two walls for what it is worth. Why are the shadows afraid of this tiny light I shed on them? Is that the nature of an artist? One that can shines light on the darkness for all of us.
As the endless night drags on I reach for my bottle hoping to find courage at the bottom. I’m shaking, I’m crying, I can’t remember ever feeling so cold. The night prosiest. My light dies. I hold the light over head hoping to drink the last drops of life-giving warmth from the otherwise useless mechanism.
Death takes me by the hands and pulls me over to my computer I feel ice burning in my lungs. She throws me to my knees and reaches into my body. Death whispers in my ear telling me secrets only meant for her. Like a marionette she swings me about forcing me to type. I have become nothing…
The night is finally over, an empty bottle lays alongside me a stack of paper sits to my other side, Quivering I reach for them expecting some horror of a revelation but instead find a cover-page with my name on it and a title “I am Awake” it’s not a statement but a desperate plea.
I have work to do. I need to remember were I am and keep going. My story most live. "Yes"
A grin finds my lips, my hands reach for my keyboard, my fingers dances!
"The night was a rolling river of despair and I can only hope to be washed ashore. for she is alive with the pain and torment of my own doing. The Darkness is coming and she will never stop, she wants what we have, and what only an artist can give her, life everlasting. In desperation I called her from her everlasting sleep in hopes of drinking knowledge and inspiration from the night like a vampire fest upon life’s blood…"
Where I am, where I was yesterday. I’ve been here before. I’ve seen it all. It is called ‘False Sensory Input’ go half a week without sleep or drink yourself half to death and you can experience it all too. I’m out of my precious Canadian whiskey, and my medicine is gone from my veins. Maybe next time I’ll be smart enough not to jump into the snake-pit. If you are where I was, there is hope for you. Call your doctor when you're done with this, your family will thank you.
Written by Dfeyder