Fiction 2018 / Spring 2018 / Volume 48

The “Craziness Due to Writer’s Block” Aesthetic—Elizabeth Watts

 “I’m gonna slam this laptop against the wall. I swear I fucking will.”

    Kazuya Takahashi writes because…well, there really isn’t a “because”. He just does it because somehow he actually likes it, and despite his threat of slamming his expensive laptop against a perfectly innocent wall, he knows that he’s going to continue to write. Ideas will flow like a rushing river flooding his brain. There’s always something that sparks up in that messy mind of his, and he’ll soon complete something that he’s satisfied with (and will most likely go through, like, eighty revisions).

    But now? Right now? He’s done with it all.

    Maria Hernandez sits on the floor next to him, a pity smile on her face and giggles bubbling up in her throat and threatening to spill out. She is always the witness to such tantrums. It reminds her that she is glad that she doesn’t pursue writing stories; she prefers to keep her sanity in check.

    “No, don’t break it! Soleil spent good money on that laptop.”

    Kazuya rolls his eyes and scoffs. “I told him to spend his money on those expensive ass Prismacolor markers he wanted.”

    “And instead he decided to buy a brand new, functional laptop for his boyfriend as an early birthday present. Is that really so bad?”

    “Yes! Because said laptop is driving me insane.”

    “It’s not the laptop, sweetheart. It’s you that’s drivin’ yourself insane. Take a break. Writer’s block is a bitch. Don’t try to push what comes naturally.”

    “But the ideas are theeeeere,” he whines. “I just…I don’t know how to – argh.”

    “Take a breather, Kazu.”

    Kazuya closes his eyes, inhales, and tries to exhale as steadily as he can. It’s not really helpful, and he is sure that Maria knows it isn’t helpful. So Kazuya writes. And he backspaces. And he writes again. And he backspaces again.

    He doesn’t really know what the hell he’s writing. Words are brought to life, and then they die a horrible death. They existed, but they are quickly forgotten in favor of something that sounds better, more meaningful, more…something.

    It’s sort of like a hungover college student who doesn’t remember that he vomited all over his friend last night. Words are just tumbling out, and it’s all disgusting and foul and leaves a bad taste in Kazuya’s mouth. And now Kazuya Takahashi is cleaning up this nasty ass, disappointing vomit from the computer screen but it keeps coming back because he’s that far gone.

    He just hates how he has these poetic, beautiful thoughts but they come out either too purple prose-y or too simple and underwhelming. He hates writing.

    (And that hatred is a total lie. He loves writing. He loves and hates this sick, glorious, beautiful, twisted thing.)

    Kazuya sighs. Well, if one were to ask Maria, it’s more like a noise a tired, dying cat lets out, but she decides to keep that opinion to herself.

    “Change of plans,” she declares. “Just write. Don’t think, man. Don’t think at all. Go for it.”

    “You sound like Soleil.” Kazuya closes the laptop, runs his hands through his uncombed hair.

    “Great minds think alike, my dude.” Maria gives him one of her goofy-but-cocky grins that Kazuya dismisses with a wave of his hand.

    “Write my story for me, then.”

    Maria laughs. “No way. The only writing I’m creative in is music. You’re the one who brings the tales to life. It’s a unique talent, believe or not. So, open up that laptop again and create some stuff. Try not to obliterate it, however.”

    Kazuya rolls his eyes. Leave it to Maria to actually think he’d destroy something as precious as this laptop (though he keeps it as an option if he gets too frustrated).

     “I’m not going to really break the damn thing. Those complaints are just, like, a normal writing thing. Something all writers say.”

    Maria raises an eyebrow. “So, you contemplating breaking the laptop is a normal writing thing? Mentioning burning all of your – and I quote – ‘shitty fucking worthless outlines’ is absolutely, positively normal?”

    “Yes. Don’t act like you don’t do the same thing. Remember how you told me you were screaming at FL Studio in the middle of the night ‘cause it kept crashing on you? I’m pretty sure you said that the musician life isn’t worth it, and that you’re now gonna live the life of a hermit.”

    Maria chuckles. “Touché. But even after all of that, I still continue, don’t I?”

    A ping is heard. Maria checks her phone and smiles.

    “Ah, a text from Soleil. He wants me to meet him and Max at the café. Says he’ll bring his soon-to-be-the-next-John Green back a coffee.”

    “Eh, I think I’d be less the next-whoever and more of the person who someone would be like. Think about it: some up-and-coming author who’d be the next Kazuya Takahashi. That’s an honor right there, fam.”

    “That’s right, Kazu. Blow up that ego. I’ll see ya later, okay?”

    “Sure thing. See ya, Maria.”

    Maria takes her leave, and the sole actor is left on the stage to finish it all off. Kazuya cracks his knuckles (and thank God Soleil isn’t here or else his complaints would ruin his newfound motivation), he gives himself an exaggerated pep talk, and he opens up a new Word document. He consistently wonders why he puts himself through such hell, but then he remembers why. He remembers why he stays up until two in the morning, fine-tuning every little detail, waiting to the very last minute before he sends it off to be judged. He forces himself to traverse through all the scary and frustrating things just to reach that end goal of having a satisfying story. Because writing is both death and life. The creativity that flows from his fingertips kills him on the inside and makes him anew.

    Kazuya and writing go hand-in-hand. They can’t survive without one another. It’s a pretty good relationship, when he thinks about it.

    Kazuya shuts the fuck up. Pity party over, the complaint machine has ran out of steam. It’s time to get down to business. And even if he runs into that one sentence that sounds icky or if the picture in his head doesn’t translate quite right, he’s pretty sure he’ll keep going. Because that’s what writers do, after all.

    So Kazuya writes. And he backspaces. And he writes again. And he backspaces again.

    And he writes.

    And he writes.

    And he writes.

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