by Shannon Fair
January Writing.com Calendar writing prompt: Your printer suddenly prints on its own.
|I sat at my desk, staring mindlessly at the blank document in front of me. It taunted me, laughed at me, and poked at my insecurities. I started to doubt myself and my own humble abilities. The praise from my mentors and classmates at the university did nothing to help inflate my ego, they were just being nice, I thought. And tonight was proof. I couldn't even get started with an opening sentence. The ideas I craved eluded me. I had been at it for hours, starting then stopping then starting over, and over again. I just couldn't nail that first sentence. That's what I needed, all I needed to get me off and running. The perfect opening sentence. A friend had just recommended this new writing software to me, he said that it had changed his storytelling game and that I had to try it. There was nothing really special about it and getting it was tedious. The website required you take a quiz and then asked for permission to access almost every component on your computer; the camera, the keyboard and mouse, and printer. I thought it odd, but proceeded anyway. Anything would be worth a try at this point. Pushing my chair away from the desk, I decided I needed tea; and maybe a snack.
In the kitchen, I put the kettle over the flame on the stove and as the water came to boil I poured some of my favorite crackers into a bowl. I stared out of the kitchen window at the black void that was my backyard and suddenly became aware of a noise; familiar yet out of place. It took a moment to, firstly, realize where the noise was coming from, and secondly, realize what it was. The printer upstairs was printing. Confused, I thought for a moment: Did I try to print something earlier? No, I did not.
Slowly, I climbed the stairs back to my study. I heard finally heard the Whoosh of the paper being pushed through and the printer stopped. I peeked around the door frame and found no one and nothing there but a newly printed piece of paper in the printer tray. I lifted it gently, like it was wet and could tear at any harsh or sudden movement. The kettle downstairs whistled on the stove. At the top of the page was a single sentence: His mask was hand carved and painted gold, like his heart.
That's how I began my New York Times best-selling novel: The Venetian.