Thursday, July 28, 2011

Life's Work

by M.A. Leslie

Life's Work

The cool air flowed through the window screens and tickled his cheeks as he tapped away at the keyboard. There was stress-induced sweat building on his brow as the words finally began to flow from synapse to nerve end, and eventually onto the screen. He had finally cut through the creative snare in his brain that had plagued him.

The streets below were quiet, and, aside from the light flicker of a streetlamp, there was no movement at all. In the distance there were a few sounds of moving vehicles and distant conversation, but it didn’t matter. All senses were tuned to the white canvas filling with consonants and vowels, watching as they bled onto the page and became words, sentences, art.

Satisfied with the breakthrough, he allowed the blinders to form and the only thing that could be seen was the glare of the laptop screen. The world around him went blank and bleak as he fell into his imagination. It was genius, it was perfect, and it was what he had waited for.

Somewhere distant in his mind, he heard sounds of life and movement. There were voices around, and quiet breaks in concentration, but not enough to pull the blinders from his eyes. He sat, and still the flow of words poured like water from an open faucet, from the tips of his fingers. They continued to come and he continued to write. There was only him and his work, what he assumed was his bliss.

The world and room around him had changed, and night had become day, and then changed again. A forest was growing on his face, but he didn’t feel it or care to notice. Nothing would break his focus. There was just his work and the tapping of the keys, a pianist playing a sonnet. That is, until he was finished.

The man leaned back and heard a slight crack as he stretched. The room came back into focus, but it was much different than he remembered. All that remained was the bed and the dresser. The pictures on the walls were gone. Slowly he stood, unhooking the laptop and walking out to show his family the amazing work he had completed. They were gone.

The rooms of the house were as nude as birth. With a puzzled melancholy the man sat down at the kitchen table, his life’s work next to him. He had no one to share it with; all that was left sat on the screen.

With a sigh he opened the screen again to see it, but like all other things in his life, the laptop slipped. With a crash the computer bounced open against the floor. The screen was blank, except for a reflection he no longer recognized.


Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Ouch! *goes out to hug my kids now*

Brilliant, and I think you captured it perfectly. The ever-present fear of the writer, of what her art will cost her.

D.G. Hudson said...

The price of forgetting there is a life beyond our computers and what we create.

For every action, there is a consequence, but some choose to ignore.

This is great writing, M. A., bringing back the Rip Van Winkle story in a modern context.

I like the short fiction postings, Bryan, thanks for featuring that.

Marsha Sigman said...

That was wicked good.

I'm planning on unplugging for a long family weekend in few weeks. I can't keep forgetting the kids names and calling them all Bob forever.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

This is a good reminder that there really is more out there to life than writing. Still, I like to think of writing and life being complementary of the other. At least, I hope they are.

M.A. Leslie said...

Thank you everyone, glad you enjoyed the story.

We would have commented earlier, but had a slight lasp medically and a close call with a guard rail today. Good news is that Mike is okay, but had to spend some time at the hospital.

maine character said...

Whoa. First, I really liked how he "allowed the blinders to form" as he got into the flow.

But then it shifts in this spooky way, and it brought up a fear of mine - what good is all this writing if you don't have anyone to share it with? How well are you balancing your life on and off the page?

Thanks for the reminder, and all the best to you and Mike and all you treasure together.

Matthew MacNish said...

If you don't share your writing with others, you're not really writing, you're just writing shit down.

That's something I always say. This is a bit different, of course, but still beautifully executed. I remember discovering M.A. right here, on World in Mini, and that is why I love this series. Sorry to hear about your accident, but I'm glad to hear you're okay.

Donna Hole said...

oh the horror!

A gripping story, perfectly paced. I found myself enmeshed in his concentration.

Well done.