My Quotation Inspiration Entry.
Arron turned on the desk lamp, the orange glow of the fluorescent, energy saving lightbulb lit up his desk revealing a mosaic of looped ring coffee stains. The rest of the room remained shaded under closed curtains, and the light switch on the wall seemed so far away.
He read the text message again,
“I need that first draft by 17:00 Arron, no excuses this time dear. The Publishers won’t wait any longer, they want to progress, and we need to hit our deadline. Don’t go pulling a G.R.R on me xx,”
The tick of the clock on the wall moved the hands of time to read close to nine-forty.
“Chapter 42 – The recurve,” was followed by an empty void of white space. It stared back at him from the backlit screen of his MacBook Pro, the modern tool of any writer, symbolic in all coffee shop related slurs.
Arron had heard them all from Joe, “I’d love to be a writer, you sit on your arse all day, making stuff up. Editing, that’s where the real hard work is, and that’s where the real magic happens. You all take Editors for granted. Writers? MacBook Wankers right?” Joe would grin and wink, Arron would complain about the distraction, knowing full well that if Joe weren't there, he would probably be procrastinating via some other means.
Arron wondered if Joe would be free tonight, it was Thursday, they could start the weekend early. He could call him, see if April wanted to come over as well, open a bottle of wine. He sighed, the first novel was a minor success, and Arron doubted he’d be allowed an extension. He had to work, had to get this completed, but the well of inspiration that fuelled him had dried up.
“Never write to a planned sequel, and finish the damn story. If it is good enough, get it in the first book,” Arron recalled a voice in his head, remembered from yesteryear, a YouTube video he couldn’t place, of a successful author giving a lecture on novel writing.
Arron thought about how he’d start a YouTube video, “Writing: Are you sure?” That would be the title. He’d open with how lonely it can be, how every sentence contains poisons of self-doubt, how every plot twist could twist you in two as well, “Is this good enough? Has the plot fallen off the beaten track? How do I trust the reader?”
Being a writer was the cliff edge of putting yourself on paper, blood sweat and tears, and throwing yourself into the wind, “Chasing the Wind,” Arron smiled. You could get to new heights by the brisk winds of lucky timing and half decent skill, or you could fall off the edge, flat on your face, torn apart by critical vultures that made it no further than the first line of the second paragraph.
This dwelling wasn’t helping, so Arron stood up and walked to the kitchen, the hunger for breakfast had made its call. A quick assortment of fried eggs and bacon were slapped together inside some ‘stay fresh’ white bread. What was next? Clean up. Next? He put the washing on, working further and further away from his desk. Procrastination pulled like little hooks on his skin, Arron knew what he was doing, wasting time, avoiding the task at hand. He agreed with himself that his mind was too cluttered and went for a walk.
It was a beautiful day, sunny and breezy. Arron left his quiet, dead-end street and shuffled his feet as he idly walked. Arron flicked through his wallet and then picked up the pace as an idea popped into mind. He hadn’t used in a long time, but desperate times required an open mind. He hustled around the block, passed the Oak Hart Inn, and headed down an alley. Arron checked around him before reaching over a wooden gate, unlatching it. Overgrown grass arched over the walkway, forming bridges of emerald green. Arron noted how it looked for future inspiration.
Chewy was chained to his kennel and charged forward with his tail wagging. The Doberman was built of tense muscle and drool and jumped up, almost knocking Arron to the ground.
“Down boy, down,” Arron said, scrunching Chewy’s face and scratching him behind his ears.
“Hey! Arron mate,” Lewis lit a cigarette at his back door, “What's it been, months right?”
Lewis preferred his customers to avoid his front door and didn’t smoke indoors. It allowed him to frequent his garden and take care of business, a business that didn’t involve the actual meaning of cutting the grass.
“You wanna come in?” Lewis asked, “Some of the boys are here, we got some crates to watch the game later, and I might fire that thing up,” Lewis pointed to a BBQ that had seen better days. Spider webs hung from rusted metal, bending their way to the vine covered garden fence.
“Sorry mate, can’t stay. I’ve got work to catch up on,”
“Ah right, yeah, writing and stuff. That book,” Lewis smiled, “I’ve read it you know, pretty good if you ask me. I like to think I influenced it a little, saw more of you back then,” The compliments of the local dealer hardly met Arron’s aspirations, but yet they still lifted his mood somewhat. Arron reached into his wallet and pulled out a note and handed it over.
“Straight to business eh?”
“Sorry Lewis, I’ve got a deadline mate,”
“No worries," He shrugged, "I’ll be back now,” Lewis turned towards the door, wiping his feet on the mat.
Chewy had sat down and looked up at Arron with the best impression of puppy dog eyes the beast could muster. A toy rope, caked in mud and soaked to its core in slobber hung in his mouth, “I, am not touching that, sorry boy,” Arron scratched him behind his ear.
“Here you are,” Lewis handed over a small bag of green buds.
“Thanks, I’ll see you,” Arron headed for the gate.
“Let me know about the book mate, Moran is my favourite character,” Lewis said, “She’s got fight in her,”
Arron smiled, “I’ll get you a copy,” He didn’t want to spoil the story or disappoint, so just nodded and locked the gate behind him. Arron considered Moran’s story too weak to carry further development. He’d killed her off half way through the second, brutally.
Arron opened his front door, bottles of whisky clanked together in his Tesco carrier bag. He put them on his desk and removed the papers and tobacco before scrunching the bag into a ball and throwing at his bin, “3 points,” He missed.
Arron rolled what resembled a joint at the third time of trying, out of practice since giving up a long time ago. His first draw caused him to cough and gasp, but the familiar taste and feeling soon set it. He poured a drink of neat whisky into a tumbler and opened his MacBook, “Drugs and drink, I’ll tackle this problem like the novelists of old,”
Arron did just that, through smoke and drink and the clicks of his keyboard, he put the story to virtual paper. In between the distractions of looking elsewhere, being dragged away from his screen by nothing, and Facebook notifications, somehow, he completed the last chapters of his novel.
Arron was drunk and high and dizzy but forced himself to read over what he’d written, hoping to spot any mistakes in his state was like hoping to find love on Tinder.
“A first draft only has to exist,” he repeated to himself as he hit send.
“I’ve attach it, Let ME KNow how the Meet goes,”
Arron stood from his seat and stumbled head on towards his sofa. He flopped onto it, face first, and laid there motionless, giggling for a solid half an hour before passing out.
The sun was out again and a few days had elapsed since the deadline. Joe was complaining about his wobbly chair and stood up to change it, “If this coffee shop were a chain we wouldn’t have to deal with this shoddy quality,” he said.
The table they sat allowed them the comforting shade of a canopy umbrella.
“You’ve always got something to moan about Joe,” Arron said, closing his MacBook.
“Sod off, you know I’m right,”
A serving girl brought out two coffees and shared more than a friendly smile in Joe’s direction, “Then again,” he said, moving his eyebrows up and down, grinning. They both laughed, Arron shook his head.
Arron’s phone began to vibrate on the table, the sound grated on his nerves, “Sophia, Agent,” the screen read. Aaron paused.
“Bloody answer it,”
Arron picked it up,
“Arron, hey, how are you?”
“I’m well, yourself? Is it news about the book?”
“Yes, about that, so Briarwood has decided not to make an offer on the sequel, sorry Arron, they like the draft but…” Sophia continued to speak, but Arron could only hear white noise.
He thought about the hours in front of the damned screen, of typing, of worrying and of the imaginary paper he’d crumpled up inside his head while he pressed and held the backspace button over and over again over the last months of his life,
“Arron? Arron? Are you there?”
“Yes, yes, I’m here,”
“Good. So in other news, I’ve spoken with the team, I got an editor, you know Richard," Sophia said, "He helped with your first novel. I got him to read it and give us some pointers; I’ve asked him to email you, I’ve got some contacts we can use. The deal might not be as good with another publisher but keep working on it, and I’ll see what we can put together,"
“Yeah, sure Sophia, sounds good,”
“Ok, you’re ok? It's good work Arron. This just happens sometimes,”
“I know, thank you, we’ll get em next time,”
“That’s the spirit boy, keep at it. I’ve got to go, read the email, I’ll see you soon, bye,” Sophia cut the call,
Arron sighed and dropped his phone on the table, “Well, that’s that,” he opened his MacBook back up,
“Not great then eh?” Joe asked, his face etched with sympathetic worry.
“The Publisher doesn’t want it,” Arron began to type, “I’m not sure this is for me you know mate,”
Joe laughed out loud. It was a release of nervous energy more than an insult, “Nonsense man, how did that quote go, you know the one, ‘To be a Writer, you must do the things you think you cannot do’ Something like that right?”
Aaron shook his head and sighed, “I’m not sure that is even close to being right,”
“What do I know?” Joe shrugged, “Just here to help mate, now get to work,” he smiled, tapping the table, “While you do that I’m going to see if our caffeine infused temptress has a phone number eh?”
Aaron laughed, “You’re a pest,”
Joe left the table and headed into the coffee shop he turned back and winked, psyching himself up.
Arron opened his emails,
I’ll start off by saying what in hell's name were you thinking? Killing off Moran, honestly? Get it together lad. You're better than these surprise death gimmicks. She was a Pillar! I loved her in the first book. We can sort this out mate, give me a call, we'll set up a group and...”
Arron laughed quietly to himself, brought his coffee up to his mouth and took a long, large gulp, setting it down, he started to type.