With Eyes Shut

I sit in front of my computer. My screen is showing the “Add New Post” page on my Worpress blog. I have nothing to say. I sit, and I stare, and my fingers ache from keeping the awkward position of just hovering above the keyboard. My mind feels blank.

And yet, I stop thinking for a moment. I stop trying to plan what I want to say. I realize that as I’ve been sitting here, I’ve been feeling a whole range of things quite outside the blank page on my screen and my thoughts on how to fill it. I shut my eyes.

I take a deep breath. My mother is cooking in the kitchen. She’s making a breaded chicken dish, and it smells wonderful. In fact, it smells so strongly that I know the people in the apartments below us can smell it too. I’m sure that they, like me, are salivating, feeling a sudden urge to eat something fried.

I let my breath out, and concentrate on my hearing. I can hear the sound of the sizzling chicken in the pan, and for a moment my sense of smell takes over again. I shift my concentration back to my ears, those oddly shaped things sticking to the sides of my head, and listen. I can hear my mother talking to the cats. I can hear Massive Attack playing on the stereo. Odd music, but beautiful. Part of the sounds of home in a way.

I think of my mouth, my sense of taste, and I realize that the smell in my nostrils is so dominant that I can almost taste the food already. I let it go, knowing that soon enough I will be tasting it in truth.

Finally, I think of my fingers, and the way they feel gliding blindly along the keyboard. They’re on familiar territory, and I feel that they’re hardly in my control because they manage to move so fast, darting from one key to the next and making another sound for my ears to hear – the tick-tack-click-clack of the keys being pushed down hard, each one only for a moment before my fingers jump over to the next key. If I’d look down and see how fast they were moving, or how oddly they looked, I would probably lose my focus entirely and they’d tangle up and make mistakes. Best to let my fingers alone and let them do as they will.

I open my eyes. I see the end result, the thing I was striving for – a full page.

Distraction

A buzzing drone in my ear, I struggled to open my mouth in anything other than a pointless flapping and ranting of facts and figures. As my mind struggled to stay with the task of solving problems, complaints and mistakes, my fingers itched to be of use, and dragged my mind elsewhere, time after time.
It was hard to believe that the despair that had overtaken my mind and emotion just hours earlier seemed to have dissipated and dissolved under those same itching fingers, those same thoughts that were causing my mind to wander and my mouth to smile more often than not. The feeling of my fingers flying across the small pages in those precious few minutes between the chattering of voices in my ear – ah! The best feeling in the world, to be for once creating instead of venting, making up instead of putting down facts.
The ink flowing from the pen seemed to give birth to new ideas and characters with every twitch of my fingers, clutching the pen so tightly that my arm began to ache before long. My mind flowed with names, situations, ideas, friendships, worlds – all so far and free from my own that they made me dizzy just to think about them and the control and power my make-believing mind would have on them.
The hours passed quicker than they ever had before – even when I could not write for an hour or two at a time, my brain never ceased to create and invent and add flourishes to the characters and their unique traits and situations. It was the best distraction, and I’m not minded to forget it any time soon.