The newspaper on the way home tells the story of a student who got drunk, fell off a roof and died. There is a picture of when she was alive: laughing intensely, carefree. It isn't hard to imagine her saying yes to a spontaneous but stupid idea such as climbing a roof when drunk. Would she have been able to laugh so happily in that picture, had she been the type of girl that doesn't take unnecessary risks?
Look up from the paper and see the skinny girl - no belly whatsoever- with on her coat a button that says "baby on board". Next to her, a heavy gentleman, frowning, holding his biro (cap on the rear) as if it's a quill, filling in the easy sudoku in this morning's Metro. Standing: a couple with suitcases. You can tell they're together by the silence between them. No strangers would ignore each other like this, not even in London.
|Hatter. © Chutney Bannister|
I ask myself this question at least twice a day - that's almost as often as I think about sex.
You'd think that by now I would have come up with an acceptable answer. Perhaps I am not a writer, maybe it makes me sad to lock free range stories up in confined sentences - even if it is for breeding purposes and might be the only way to save them from extinction. There's the fact that I can be plain lazy at times, and my creative applejuices are probably drained during office hours. Still, I don't feel any of those explanations do the situation justice.
There is an element of fear in my refusal to write. Looking at mistakes I have made before, I lose the courage to start again. "But every road to improvement is a paved with mistakes," I tell myself, "and if it were easy, everyone would do it."
Would they? Would others really dedicate time to writing stories, if they could? For some reason, I doubt it. Because the question they would ask themselves is the one I am struggling with myself, which happens to be the most frightening of them all:
What's the point?