Sunday, August 19, 2012

Opening Credits

"Hi, my name is Mark, and I'm addicted to writing," I said into a poorly grounded microphone. Static and hissing accompanied my voice which became tinny and dull.
"Hi Mark" roughly chorused those gathered in the dimly lit church basement. All of their features looked blank and hallow to me through the single fluorescent bulb that managed to work in this heaven hole. Here was where all the XA meetings were held; alcoholics, drug users, sex addicts, and now writers.Each group would gather, talk of their problems, feel a small sense of brotherly, and sisterly comradery. Each would sip their slightly darkened coffee-water (tm) and munch on stale doughnuts. The half & half was as real as the conversations that took place during the single break. The ashtray outside was overflowing on an hourly basis, and each group had it's official boy or girl scout that would cluck at the heaping, smelly mess, only to clean it up and never actually say anything to the constant offenders. 
"I'm here because I have a problem," I spoke from the heart. Unfortunately, I really didn't have my heart into it. It had only been four hours since my last story. I told my self I was finished. I could get through one day without having to write a little adventure, or play, or even a quick anecdote. But it was hopeless. Nothing could change who I was. 
"Most of you share this problem." A lot of heads bobbed in agreement. Some one in the back began to cry, not being able to stand the horror of it all. 
"I, Mark Fiske, as god's as my witness," I struck the podium to emphasize my point, "am addicted to writing!" A great-ish cheer went up from the huddled almost, but not quite, masses.
It felt good. I admitted it, and now the healing could begin. I smiled at everyone, but then noticed something that drained every ounce of color from my face. It was him. The one and only "we do not speak of his name in any chance he might be somewhere about and he'll pop over for a quick chat" fellow that stories are obsessed with and writers are infatuated with. It was Inspiration, the most fiendish adversary to writers and all those who create. Without him, tales are doomed from their first sentence, or word, or letter. Even just an idea void of his presence would wither up and blow away like so much dust in the wind. 
He was staring directly at me. No, that's not right. He was looking into me. My life was unraveling right before his eyes, and I couldn't, and didn't want, to do anything about it. I could tell this was a once in a life time moment, and I wanted to make the most of it. When he had seen his fill, Inspiration smiled, tipped his hat and gestured for me to follow. 
I looked around the room. No one else had seen him. They stared at me wondering what had caught my tongue, but having been up here they knew how a person could just freeze. For the moment they each held back, wanting to move the night along, but giving me some time to collect my thoughts. I couldn't. My mind was blank. Everything I had ever know, or thought, or dreamed was now in the hands of Inspiration and I had no choice but to follow.
"Uhhhh..... I'm sorry, but this just isn't me," I said in a daze. "Actually, I flipping love writing. If you know what's good for you, you'll quit your complaining, and just get on with it."
I sauntered off the dais, and made my way through the crowd. I knew some would follow, and others would continue this farce. Being a writer is who you are, who you become. At some point a person makes a decision; give your life over to words and let Inspiration come to you, or hide your head in the sand pretending that nothing matters and you'll just make do If you don't mind, thank you! 
I wrenched my head out of the sand at the exact moment I slammed through doors leading out of the basement room. There is no way I could have been prepared for what met me. Instead of a sad hall that led to even sadder rooms, I found a multi-lane highway that stretched to either side of me. A 1960's convertible Volkswagen Beetle sat in front of me, and Inspiration smiled from the drivers seat. 
"You ready for 'The Wild Ride'?" He asked in a deep, voice filled with joviality and humor. 
"Uhhhhh...." The dot's hung in the air right above my head. They turned into eyes, and looked at me like I was a shlub for not getting in right away. I stared back and one winked.
"Yes," I said. "Definitely Yes, I should think"
Inspiration smiled and motioned for me to join him on the highway to... somewhere. Without looking back, I jumped in the car, whooped in laughter, and felt the breeze through what remained of my hair as the car merged with traffic and we drove off to my destiny. 
What I propose to convey to you is something of a group of tales. Some I've lived, other's I dreamed. Some are nice, and you'll just love to tell your kid's someday and them their kids and so on. Others may be more like nightmares, better left under rocks where only unsuspecting Paleontologists would stumble upon them. My time with Inspiration was the most wonderful, disastrous, and mind blowing experience of my life. It would last for years, and decades. Now, I look back and see that he was always with me, all throughout my years, but I usually just ignored him; hid him behind lies, and half truths. Now I know we are actually one and the same, a whole, greater than the sum of it's parts. This is metaphorical mumbo jumbo of course. He currently resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I in upstate NY. Never the less we always send holiday cards, and the occasional story back and forth. 
I hope you enjoy some of my tales that are to follow. Know that a life of work is behind each and everyone. Some times more than one life time.

- Sir Fiskus

© 2012 Mark Fiske